Thursday, May 31, 2007

Forgiveness

Today I received a precious letter. It has been "one of those days". During school tonight, Daddy helped D write me a letter to say he was sorry. He must have been a little nervous because he didn't spell his own name correctly! :o) How could I not forgive someone so precious?

Forgiveness has been on my mind today. It seems there has been a common theme this week in Bible study, conversations, things I have read, culminating today in something I heard on television. I watched the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. Billy Graham, ever humble, said the first time he was given a tour through it, the only complaint he had was that it was "too much Billy"! It was the usual kind of thing with people giving speeches...some more heartfelt than others, some carefully and politically correct in their wording. After all the speeches, Billy stood up and said, "I feel like I've just been attending my own funeral."! That got a big laugh out of everyone!

To my surprise, the speaker I enjoyed hearing most was Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is not my favorite person...he never has been even before his personal 'problems' in the White House. Honestly, I like his wife even less. This really is not a political discussion, though it is difficult to separate the politics from a politician just as it is difficult to separate the faith from a follower of Christ when discussing them.

Has God ever asked you to forgive someone that you didn't want to? Or maybe someone you never met? Today I felt God tugging at my heart, asking me to forgive Bill Clinton. Strange, I know. I find God often does strange things...things I cannot wrap my mind around.

Bill spoke of how Billy Graham demonstrates the Law of Love...to "love your neighbor as yourself." He said that the first law was to Love the Lord God and the second was, "like unto it" to love your neighbor as yourself. Like unto it...it clicked in my mind that "like unto it" means that it is not lesser, just as important and really a part of loving God. God asked me to love my neighbor Bill. I am humbled, completely humbled and I realized that if I love him, I must forgive him. I know, some of you may think this sounds crazy. But forgiveness is really important. Forgiveness does not say that what was done is "okay" but that I will not hold that against you forever, that I will not allow it to change me...to make me angry, bitter, vengeful, hate, despise. All those things hurt the one who needs to forgive more than the one that needs to be forgiven.

Does Bill Clinton care if I forgive him? Not likely! But just like my son, when he is forgiven, I can run to my Heavenly Daddy's arms for a hug. It draws me closer to Him. Ultimate Forgiveness was what He gave us in the sacrifice of His Son. (If you want to know more about this there is a "ready?" button to the right) I have seen how unforgiveness can eat away at a person until they are left with but a shell of their former self and how it can destroy families. And unless you think I just blithely write this, I do understand that forgiveness is difficult. I have had to forgive much and I have needed much forgiven. But I didn't do it alone. It was by the strength of God..."I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

I mentioned that this week I have heard this theme in several formats. One of the other places was at Bible study where we are learning about King David. King David was a powerful man who did some incredible and courageous things and he loved the Lord with all his might. And he sinned in some pretty disgusting ways. At the end of the day, God called David a man after His Own heart. The greatest honor of my life would to one day hear from God that I was a woman after His Own heart. I couldn't help but wonder if Bill Clinton too, in all that he has experienced and in recent years with his heart surgeries, had come face to face with his sin and his Savior and known forgiveness. There was a genuine quality in his speech today that made me see beyond the politician and beyond the smooth words that he often uses. Convicted of my own sin, I saw the face of a man I need to forgive. So, tonight the Lord and I will spend some time together in conversation.

Well, I will step down from my soapbox. I just wanted to share some of my heart tonight. If you made it this far, thanks for indulging me. God Bless you!

3 comments:

Marguerite said...

Excellent post. Sobering thoughts.

Catching up on your recent posts was a pleasure this evening.

Charlotte said...

Hi Theresa! It has been a while since I visited any blogs. This was a real, inspiring, truth-saturated post and also a joy to read it.

susan said...

Great and convicting truths you just shared, Theresa.

Forgiveness has been a theme for me as well, One of the places I heard it was from the puplit on Sunday during communion.

I've also seen how unforgiveness can "ruin" relationships that were once precious. I don't want that to happen to me and ANY of my relationships.

Thanks for posting such an honest and exhorting post. I love you.

Susan