Ephesians 4:32, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I’d like to tell you two tales.
The first one is tragic. The second one has a happy, sappy ending – like in the Hallmark movies many of us enjoyed this past Christmas.
Here goes the first one: Once upon a time, my husband went to California to take care of some things he needed to take care of. As he had done ever since our family moved to Arizona, Ron stayed at his sister’s. At this particular stay, unfortunately, he offended her tremendously. And though he’s apologized profusely through the years, she still hasn’t extended the forgiveness he’s so longed for. This offense has divided our once-very-close families. It’s tragic.
The second story happened many years ago, too. This one features our precious dog, Princess, going into our backyard and barking her tiny longs out at all hours of the day and night. Since we weren’t home during the day and we all sleep upstairs, we weren’t aware of our chi-winnie’s chenanigans.
Princess’ relentless barks irritated our next-door neighbors Gail and Linda to no end – especially Linda. Being older and kinder than my young family, they put up with the nuisance without saying a word, until the day Linda couldn’t take it anymore. She dialed our number and, when I answered, she yelled: “Do something about that dog! I can’t take her barking anymore!”
I didn’t know what surprised me most: Linda being so bothered and not saying anything for who knows how long or her “rudeness.”
In a matter of seconds, I had the chance to respond in anger to what I perceived as an injustice or consider the value of our friendship and answer accordingly. Thankfully, I chose the latter.
Gritting my teeth I said, I’m so sorry, Linda. We honestly didn’t know. We’re going to do something about it, I promise.
And we did. And the relationship was saved, and the ending to this second story was wonderful! For the next 15 years, Gail and Linda have been like grandparents to my children and we’ve enjoyed creating marvelous memories we would’ve probably not enjoyed had we both chosen the offense over forgiveness. And all of this for something as ridiculous as an annoying little dog’s bark!
Throughout December, I relished in the music of this magical Season, singing Let it snow, let is snow, let it snow! to my heart’s content. I pray this New Year will find us all signing a new song — a liberating song that proclaims to the world as well as well as to our own souls a decision to forgive.
Let it go, let it go, let it go! In the Name of Jesus; right now; whether we feel like it or not. Let us let go.
May God give us the grace to choose love over resentment and forgiveness over an offense.
It is my wish for 2017,