Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The F Word

No, not that F word. The other F word. Forgiveness. In reviewing my posts recently, I was very surprised to see that I have rarely written about forgiveness, at least as the primary focus of a post. I find that avoidance, well, significant. If we avoid the places that scare us, and if the places that scare us are the very places we need to go in order to grow our spirit and deepen our faith, then it looks like forgiveness might be a place where I need to spend some time. I’m already uncomfortable just thinking about it.

From my review, it looks like I have written about forgiveness mostly in relation to not judging and compassion. That makes sense. If we can refrain from judging and open our hearts with compassion, forgiveness often occurs almost as a by product. It’s easy. We hardly need to think about it. We’re off the hook.

Or not. Sometimes we come face to face with forgiveness in all its raw demand, and powerful promise. I was reminded recently of the story of Ruby Bridges, who was escorted by federal marshals to her first grade class. Ruby was the only black student sent to integrate an all white school in New Orleans in 1960. People saw her mouth moving as she walked, so tiny inside the circle of towering marshals, through the raging crowd screaming every vile thing you can imagine at her. Later, when asked what she was saying, she said that she was praying, praying that she would be strong and not afraid, and praying for God to forgive the people in the crowd because they didn’t know what they were doing. Ruby was six years old.

How many petty things have I held a grudge about long past the expiration date? Perhaps holding an image of little Ruby in my mind will help me let go. Instead of forgiving those who have wronged me, perhaps I should ask for forgiveness for holding onto my righteous arrogance.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. –Mark Twain

Related post From the Ashes

1 comment:

  1. I love this writing. It is strong, encouraging, thought-provoking and a needful reminder.


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