Wednesday, 13 August 2014

I did learn something...even if you hurt my feelings, good things will still happen to you.

That may seem like a bizarre statement. Of course - the rain falls and the sun shines on each of us. But for me, because I internalize things so deeply, and maybe because I read the Psalms A LOT where David and his cohorts confidently pronounce utter destruction on those who don't follow the straight and narrow ("Break the arms of these wicked, evil people! Go after them until the last one is destroyed." Psalm 10:15 - a good example) I expect that if you are unkind and hurtful to me, my friends and family, bad things will happen to you. Call it some sort of Christian Karma. Besides, I can back it up with verses like "what you sow, you shall also reap" - Galatians 6:7.

Except that's not the way it is.

I've seen people who have done horrible things to others given lavish gifts of beautiful homes, promotions at work, the ability to take exotic vacations with those who are close to them. How come? Shouldn't God have smote them by now?

Last year when I was on sabbatical, I had two profound thoughts occur to me. OK maybe they weren't that profound, but I did see them with much clarity.

Thought #1 - they are just as valuable and as loved as I am
Thought #2 - God wants good for them just as much as he wants good for me

When Jesus came to earth as a man he was heralded as the word Emmanuel - God with us. And if God is with us, who can be against us.

God is for me, yes.
But even if you have caused me great pain, God is also for you, and wants good for you.
And God rejoices when I am happy.
And if you've damaged my reputation by words that you've spoken, God is not plotting your demise. (We seem to be able to do that on our own)

Not to say God doesn't want reconciliation and reconnection and unity, that's a post for another day.

When I think about the idea of forgiveness, my goal is not about forgetting the past, the words, the actions. Instead, I look to celebrate the good things that have happened to those who have hurt me. Celebrate the God that loves me "to the moon and back" thinks the same of them as well. I've even tried to secretly arrange a promotion for someone who causes me grief. But that was just once.

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