This week was a frustrating one for me. Have you ever had a week in which you felt everything was conspiring against you? You and your spouse are bickering, and the kids seem like they're going from one fight with each other to the next! Your coworker won't stop annoying you, the car broke down again and even Siri, Apple’s personal assistant, was part of the plot against you. “I said platform! Not pot farm, Siri!” Some days it feels like she gets more of the dictation wrong than right. This is a huge deal for someone who writes everything on his phone through Siri's dictation software. Digital assistance aside, it has been a long time since I have been angry enough with the people around me that I had to remove myself so I did not say something I would regret.
One such incident happened to me this week, with people close to me. Once I had removed myself from the situation and all of its colorful words, I began to reflect on what just happened. When I am in the situation, it is easy for me to point a finger at other people as the cause of my issues. The only reason I'm upset is because they did this … or the only reason I did that is because they said this.... The truth is, if I take the time and be honest with myself, the issue always comes back to me. I have come to the understanding that I can only change me. Even if somebody did something that was unjust and outright mean to me, I still have the power to forgive and move on. The failure to forgive allows them to wrong me over and over again. This happens in my mind and causes a root of bitterness to grow in my life. It also tethers me to them and over time it will produce a rotten, putrid smell that everyone, but me, can smell from a mile away.
We all have met somebody like this. Two minutes into the conversation with them and they begin to rail on someone or something that had wronged them in the past. They are captive to this injustice, and it paralyzes them from moving forward and engaging with their destiny. It is like a tug-of-war. You are on one end of the rope, and the person who wronged you is on the other. What would happen if you simply let go of the rope? The war would be over! So after my time of reflection what did I do? Well, I cannot lie; it took me until the next day, but I humbly went to the people involved, seeking their forgiveness. I had already forgiven them and my forgiveness was not conditional on them giving me their forgiveness. Even though I may not feel like I was one hundred percent in the wrong, I was one hundred percent responsible for my actions and in control of myself.
Forgiveness does not mean we condone what the other person did. Sometimes you may even have to forgive and then call the police, but the kingdom of God is clear. If you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven. When I come to people in humility and honestly seek their forgiveness, their reactions never stop amazing me. Many times they will ask for forgiveness in return and the relationship can be restored. Too many times in life I have seen people throw away sometimes years long relationships that could have been reconciled through forgiveness. I am not perfect, but once I was able to admit this and conduct myself accordingly, the Lord has been able to work in my life, changing my heart. This was a frustrating week, but it was a great reminder of how good our God is and His ability to work in our life through the power of forgiveness. For those who are curious, yes, I did forgive Siri!