In recent weeks I have been exposed to someone who has put such a mark on my heart that I shy away from all contact with her. I have an urge to use her as a character in one of my stories, but I feel a nudge to share it here at this time.
This woman became a Christian at an early age. She's always preaching about a God who loves us so much that He sent his own Son to take our sin so that we may be cleansed and ready to be accepted into heaven when our time comes.
Yet I can’t see Christ reflected on her face.
She talks of God’s forgiveness and repeats the prayer from Matthew 6:9-13 when Jesus said to pray in this manner:
Some versions substitute trespasses for debts, but I believe it means that we should forgive others who do wrong against us in the same manner that God forgives us simply because he loves us.
This woman appears to say the Lord’s Prayer in reverence.
Yet I don’t see Christ reflected on her face when she’s loud, angry and animated while describing how one person wronged her 60 years ago.
My quiet suggestion that she forgive the offender and allow herself peace makes her cry out that she’ll never forgive or forget.
I pray for this woman whose transparency leaves me wishing she would stop preaching. How can people see Christ in us when we don’t act like He’s in our heart?
This woman has been holding that grudge for sixty years, allowing it to blacken her heart with each memory, like a cancer in her chest.
Physically, this woman has cancer. Emotionally, she is scarred. Mentally, she takes out her frustrations on her caregiver first, then apologizes afterward, although sometimes there can be several days between the two events.
And so I pray for all the caregivers, those people whom God has gifted the spirit of giving. They give their time, their compassion, their selves. It takes a very special person to take abuse from someone they're trying to help and then give love in return.
Obviously that’s not me, since I started this post by saying I shy away. But wait...how can people see Christ reflected on my face when I feel this way towards her?
I pray for tolerance, wisdom and empathy. That I would see these people and their needs as Christ sees them. That I would be a willing server showing God’s love for His people. That my face would shine like a beacon showing all that Christ lives in my heart.
And to all caregivers, I'm sending out virtual boughs of flowers as a thank you because you are very much appreciated.
Anita Mae Draper's historical romances are written under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yield fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details. Anita's short story, Here We Come A-Wassailing, was a finalist for the Word Guild's 2015 Word Awards. Her novellas are included in Austen in Austin Volume 1, The American Heiress Brides Collection, and The Secret Admirer Romance Collection. Readers can check out Anita's Pinterest boards for a visual idea of her stories to enrich their reading experience. Discover more at:
Website - www.anitamaedraper.com
Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/anitamaedraper/
Thanks for the reminder that forgiveness brings healing to the one offering it, often more than to the recipient.ReplyDelete
In the SS class I teach, we've been learning about Joseph. Sunday's lesson was about him forgiving the brothers who sold him into slavery (after first considering murder). Can you image?
Actually, CJ, I CAN imagine Joseph forgiving his brothers. I'm not going to equate myself on a scale to what Joseph encountered, but for one year in my past when I was 6-7, I was under the care of someone who strapped me at the end of every school day, and then deprived of me of supper on those same days. For a year. After that, I could endure anything.Delete
Ten years later as a 16-year-old when I had a chance to visit with the family, I saw the question in her eyes, "Does she remember?"
Well, yes, I did. I still do. But at that moment, I knew that she had done what she did because of fear. I hadn't belonged in her house. She had been forced to care for me as if I was one of her own three children when everything I stood for was a threat to her family. And she had dealt with her insecurities by taking out her frustration of me.
In that moment, I forgave her. I was done with the past and wouldn't allow it to darken the exciting future I was imagining. Of course I still remember, but there is no emotion attached to the memory. It's just something that happened and not worth dwelling on.
So, not as horrendous as Joseph, but there is no level of degree to forgiveness. You either do, or you don't, and I'm so very glad I did.
Thank you for sharing, CJ.