Resolve to Forgive

I have just come off of almost a week with family. There were 14 of us and 4 dogs all in one house, spread out on couches and air mattresses and anywhere we could find to sleep. For the most part, it was a lot of fun.
That is not to say a brother or two didn’t say something that really bugged me, or that I wasn’t VERY ready to get home and sleep in my own bed. But as I was driving back from Montana I started to think about the fact that lots of people don’t look forward much to time with family. It is hard to be together—old grudges come out, your parents make you feel like you are 10 years old again, it is stressful.
And what I think happens a lot of times, is that the stress isn’t worth it and so we avoid spending time together. We want to protect ourselves from those old hurts.
There are lots of family-like places in our lives. Church can be that way. There are people we get along with better than others. There are times we want to avoid being together. Our kids’ schools and classes, clubs we belong to, neighborhoods. And the thing that all of those places have in common is that they are full of people, and people are hard to get along with. It is part of the deal when we are all both saint and sinner, good and bad, blessed and broken.
The New Year has begun and many people like to make resolutions. I have decided that one of mine is going to be to have a forgiving heart first. There are lots of people that bug me, but I’m kidding myself if I don’t realize that I bug lots of people just as much. And if I want them to have a forgiving heart with me, I need to have one with them.
My sister was talking to a colleague about how this woman just does not like to spend time with her family. Her dad can’t seem forgive one of her siblings among other things.
But you see the thing is that we are not going to change each other. My brother will always not do his share of the dishes. My other brother will be late for everything. I will be judgmental. We all are passive-aggressive and inconsiderate.
But we are family. That is how the Good Lord does things. He makes us all a part of his body so one part can’t say to the other that I don’t need you—to the contrary, we are stuck with each other.
But would you want it any other way? Would you really want to be in this on your own?
Will you resolve to choose forgiveness first with me? For yourself, for your brother, for your fellow church member, for your neighbor? To err is human, but to forgive is nothing short of sharing in the Divine.


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