We’ve known each other for 13 years and this has never happened in our friendship before. This morning, I sat down in my kitchen to pray about it and think it through, there were tears, and what I realised is that this person will probably upset me again one day, and I’ve probably upset them in the past. Because we get things wrong, don’t we? Some days we’re thoughtless, we say and do things that we don’t mean.
As I prayed I knew I had to choose to forgive this person but, the truth is, I didn’t really want to. I wanted to hold onto it because I was cross. But my eyes were drawn to the floor, and in that moment I realised something I wanted to share with you.
Picture if you can my kitchen floor – it’s speckled grey. I’ve got a dog, so there’s always mud, sticks and dog hair to sweep up. We’ve got chickens so we’re always in and out of the garden collecting eggs, so more mud. I’m also a pretty messy cook so throw in a few peelings of carrot and a sprinkle of flour here and there and you’re left with MESS.
Every day I have to sweep the floor otherwise it just builds up. I can’t just push it to the side of the kitchen and live in the middle because as each day passed, I’d have less and less space to cook, to move, and to live in. The mess at the edge of the room would be festering and going bad, it wouldn’t be enjoyable to be in that room anymore.
When we leave things undealt with, they begin to fester and give us less space to live and breathe and enjoy. We don’t just push the things that people have done to one side, we need to choose to daily sweep it up, gathering those thoughts and feelings together and then release them, and in that releasing is the powerful act of forgiveness.
I know this isn’t easy to do, especially when the things that people have done have caused such incredible pain. Forgiving people isn’t saying what they’ve done is ok, it’s handing it all over to God and asking Him to deal with it, giving you more space to live, and more space to breathe. Forgiveness is a daily choice, and it’s a difficult one, but God can help us with this. Think of Him as the place in which you empty that anger, those painful memories and difficult emotions. I’m not suggesting that God is a dustbin, but He’s very good at taking our rubbish out.
So, do you need to do some sweeping up? I think I’ve got some to do today, because I want to be free, and I think you want to be free too. So let’s sweep up today, and let’s do it again tomorrow.
Photo by Brina Blum.