Thursday, September 27, 2007

paradigm shift

I’ve been telling a story for over a decade, now. I tell it from memory, emphasizing the wrongs done to me. Friends listen and empathize: “That’s terrible!” they say, “How insensitive!” I think in the telling, the story gained momentum. Instead of becoming less angry, my anger grew, feeding on itself and taking root in my heart. I felt justified in holding onto this resentment; after all, this person was wrong. Insensitive.

Last weekend I spent some time cleaning out my office, and found an old box of pictures and letters. (Remember letters? What a treasure!) Reading through these old letters, I found one from this person, sent fifteen years ago. In the letter, this person acknowledges their insensitivity and asks for my forgiveness. They recognized the damage done to our relationship and sought restoration.

And I had completely forgotten about it.

In my hurt, I’m guessing that I just tossed the letter aside. I honestly can’t remember receiving it, but obviously somewhere along the line I chose to hold onto my resentment rather than forgive. And my resentment grew. For fifteen years, it grew.

I finally sat down and responded to this person with a letter of my own—a letter of apology and forgiveness. I pray for reconciliation.

Oh, how we need grace. We all so desperately need grace.

18 comments:

spaghettipie said...

Okay, first of all, have I really not left comments on your last few posts? I really have been here, just lurking I guess.

My pastor preached on grace just this Sunday. It's such a hard lesson, and yet we've experienced (and do every day) the most extreme example! Oh, that we would learn to really understand grace. I pray that all goes well with your letter.

Andrea said...

Wow, that is amazing. Just more incentive to believe God over all things.

A Musing Mom said...

God is good. We all need to have our eyes opened to our blind spots. Tough as it is, I'm glad you got to see (and take care of) that one.

Prayin' for ya.

Llama Momma said...

SP -- Lurking is always fine too, but I always appreciate your thoughts. Thank you!

Andrea -- It is amazing. Most amazing to me? My own falible memory of events. Yet another reason to trust God above all!!

AMM -- thank you for your prayers. Honestly, this is a burden lifted more than anything. And a wake up call to not dwell in darkness...

L.L. Barkat said...

Isn't it amazing how we sometimes miss grace, and it has been there all along? I appreciate your honesty in this.

Llama Momma said...

LL -- Yes. I thank God for these humbling moments in my life.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Llama Momma,
Yes, I see my own heart in what you say. Sometimes the pain is so great or the lie we believe that we can't see the extended hand of grace right in front of us. This has surely happened to me time and time again. But hopefully will be so less and less.

Thanks for sharing that.

Marmot Mom said...

Ouch! So very painfully convicting! There was a reason Jesus likened sin to leaven. Leave it in the warm darkness and watch it grow. I have also been learning some deep lessons in humility this month. Thanks for sharing yours. I am also praying for the person who receives your letter. The college kids that I hang out with like to say "Grace Given is Grace Received."

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Hey - I'll be back to actually read and comment later - off to work now - but left you a comment to your comment on my blog.

Jenn said...

Whoa. Thanks for being brave enough to share that with us. I can certainly resonate (though probably in different ways). On thing I think should hearten you, though--even though you forgot that person's letter, and even though you let the story gain momentum, the letter must have made enough of an impression on you at the time for you to have kept it . . .

Llama Momma said...

Thank you for all of the encouraging words. I don't feel particularly "brave" in sharing, but rather grateful for these lessons in humility. Honestly, God is good to not let me wallow in resentment any longer. To give me another chance at receiving and extending grace.

He is good, people.

Charity Singleton said...

I think we could all do with a larger margin of grace around our lives -- I find myself too easily offended and then too quick to tell everyone about it. Amazing the freedom we can find in forgiving and trusting God.

Thanks for sharing your story of grace.

Michelle Gregory said...

My goodness... I stumble in here from Musing Mom, read this post, and realize something very similar happened to me.

A bully from childhood, who made my life a misery at the bus stop almost every day - or at least that's how I'd remembered it. And every time I did, it was just as painful as when I was a girl.

Just a week ago, I let Jesus come in and reveal the truth so He could heal the memories and and then I could forgive. The boy has never written a letter (I'm sure he doesn't even remember me and we weren't close by any means), but when I was able to forgive him, I also spoke words of apology to him for holding a grudge all these years (just spoke them into the air - I have no idea where he is), and then I prayed for him and his family if he has one.

Now when I think of him, there's no bitterness or anger. Just the memory of apologizing to him and forgiving him.

Thanks for sharing.

Michelle

Llama Momma said...

Charity -- so good to hear your voice again! I seem to keep learning these grace lessons over and over again...

Michelle -- thanks for stopping by and sharing your story of forgiveness. I'm glad God was able to work in your heart this way.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

It's easy to see how it could happen. We're wrapped up in the pain of the original moment and even the bits of grace handed out by peripheral people seem meaningless, not necessarily applicable when it hurts so much. I can easily see my response to the letter having been, "yeah, so where were you when...?"

And yet, Heb 12:12-15, and beyond is in the Bible for a reason. So often, the root of bitterness has sprung up in my life to bite me in the behind!

Love, grace and peace to you as you wait expectanly on God to provide for you and your family. (I read ahead before leaving a comment) He knows what you need and has it provided already, we just don't know where or when.

I do so look forward to taking you out for coffee. I had a lovely Sunday afternoon catching up with our mutual friend for the first time in quite a long while. She loves you very much so I know I will too.

Llama Momma said...

Susan -- thank you for your encouragement! God is already working in our family, and I'm so grateful. SO. GRATEFUL.

Coffee sounds good...anytime! Needless to say, my schedule has been freed up quite a bit. :-)

Jenny from Chicago said...

You tell us not to worry and then disappear for a couple of days....it's worrying!

Llama Momma said...

jenny -- no worries! I'm far from an "every day" blogger. A couple of posts a week, and I'm doing good!

And this has been a crazy week. Friday was the husband's last day, so we all went to the dentist...have done huge amounts of paperwork...plus we're planning some massive home projects, so I've been doing research for that. Crazy!!