From: Rich Carlson
Date: December 17, 2019
Subject: It's December 17; Good Morning Union



“Whoever covers over an offense promotes love…”             Proverbs 17:9

A simple concept in theory; a very challenging ideal in practice. It’s the art of forgiveness. There are many ways I can respond, and hopefully not just react, when someone does something “offensive” to me- get angry, get even, bottle up my frustration and let it brew inside me—or I can forgive.

I’m intrigued by the idea of “getting even.” When someone hurts me and my reaction or response is to “get even,” I have to stop and look at where I am setting the bar in this situation. I don’t like what that person did to me so I’m going to set the bar at just getting even with him—that makes me just like him!! I’ve got to do better than that!! To make my goal getting even with an evil, cruel or even wicked person makes me only even with, or equal with, that evil, cruel, or wicked person! I think I can set my bar higher than that!! And THAT, my friends, is what forgiveness is. I’m not “getting even,” I’m “rising above,” whatever it is that hurt me and freeing myself from bitterness, hatred, and frustration. Forgiveness is the conscious act of letting go.

I might even modify my verse to express that negative approach—“Whoever exposes an offense promotes bitterness.” It’s not always easy when I have been hurt but I’m going with the “overlooking” and offense SO THAT I can promote love.

The second half of the verse suggests another negative option of the wrong done to me. “…and whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” How easy it is, to get sympathy, or whatever I need to help me heal from the pain, to talk about that person who wronged me. One thing I have discovered in life is that, and I can almost use the superlative “never” but I won’t—I have ALMOST never heard a story that is repeated about someone that is accurate! We kind of automatically “editorialize” the story to meet our needs. How much more harm is done, even between friends as my text today suggests, when I am offended and then instead of forgiving and moving on I share that story, personally “editorialized” to seek sympathy, or support for myself, with someone else. Now I’m not only hurting but I’m hurting someone else! Maybe that’s how I “get even!”

I may get hurt today by someone, maybe intentionally, maybe not. What do I do with my hurt? That’s the big question. Forgive? Fume and hurt myself? Or feast on the story and hurt more people? I’m goin’ with the first option. God help me because it’s not always easy!

Have a great day discovering the freedom of forgiveness,

Pastor Rich

 

Quote for the day:      “I’ve noticed that nothing I’ve left unsaid, ever did me any harm.”

 

PS        One day at a time. You can make it!!