When you’re raising children, no matter their age, every week is a big week.
“How’re ya doing?”
“Oh, we’re hanging in there! We’re busy.”
You hear that a lot, don’t you? I can imagine that at this time of the year, life may seem particularly full – with positive as well as negative stress. The good stress is usually woven in with the negative stress, stemming from relationships, responsibilities, and busy schedules.
Often when I’m asking, “How are you doing?” I’ll answer, “I’m thankful.” I’ve felt so awkward with this question because of my health issues and other circumstances. How could I ever answer that question? However, by remembering that the question is a simple courteous show of honor, recognizing my presence, I’m released to give a simple answer.
I’d like to show honor to the Lord more by framing a grateful reply rather than listing my current challenges. Expressing gratefulness for life, opportunity, and love is actually more truthful than describing my aches, pains, and such which are temporary circumstances — I will not carry them into eternity! Well, that’s my self-counsel and some food for thought for you.
How does this relate to our final theme of forgiveness? It’s so fascinating that every character quality is related to every other character quality in particular ways because all these virtues are facets of love – the love of God given to us to give to others. We have noted that forgiveness means
“Canceling a debt or wrong and not holding it against someone.”
I have also said,
“Forgiveness is a theme and principle that needs to run through every chapter of our lives.”
I’ve learned that simple truths provide me with stabilizing anchors. The principle of forgiveness provides a stabilizing anchor. I try to frame everything around me, including myself, with the word forgiveness (or any other needed character quality). Next, I exercise the quality. At first, a 5 pound weight may feel like 50 pounds, but as my spiritual muscles strengthen, the weight seems less and then I’m able to pump more weight as needed. I start small by using this simple principle:
In a fallen world, everything needs forgiven of something.
A new heaven and earth are coming, but now is my time to walk by faith. For now, everything needs forgiveness of something. My house: the scratches on my beautiful end table caused from two year old Alex pounding a set of keys on it. Why did his mother let him have those keys? (Now, the marks are special memories.) The creaks on the stairs. The inconvenient layout of the bathroom. I “forgive” my house for the patience it requires of me.
My yard: I just weeded, but what I didn’t want to grow grows, and what I want to grow dies. My eyelids: they’re drooping. My husband: he doesn’t read my mind. My timing: this project is requiring so much more than I expected. Communicating: why is it so hard to be understood or to understand someone? Why must there be tension in just trying to move a piece of furniture from one room to another?
You get the idea. As we practice a kind of forgiveness – canceling debts we think others owe us or we think we owe ourselves – we develop both perspective and discipline to trust God in helping us seek Him for forgiveness of our specific sins — His canceling of the moral debt we owe Him, no small debt. Then we are strengthened by the Spirit to be able to forgive others for their offenses against us. Spiritual muscles are built by blending biblical understanding with daily practice – in the little things and then the big things.
Let the Word nourish your spirit. “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:13-15
“How ya doing?”
“I’m thankful to the LORD! I’m alive. Forgiven. Loved. What He’s given me, I can give too. God’s so good.”