Friday, September 3, 2010

Rubbing Elbows

I don't like eating crow. I don't think anybody does. I had just finished having a conversation with my mom about a situation she was dealing with regarding her Realtor (my parents are currently buying a house). She had a definite right to be upset as her Realtor hadn't done what she was supposed to do. However, I was trying to encourage her to keep her eye on the prize--the house. At the end of the conversation we had both come to the conclusion that she just needed to forgive the Realtor for making a mistake.

Fast forward a few hours. I'm busily going about my afternoon and it gets interrupted by a phone call. There's no need to go into details about this phone call. However, at the end of it, I felt like I was smack dab in the middle of a situation just like my mom had been dealing with except it involved me--yes, moi and it felt a little different this time. It's funny how much bigger situations can seem when they're in your world not somebody else's.

Although this person totally had a right to talk with me about the situation, she didn't have all of the facts before calling and as a result, I wasn't doing what she thought I was. Simple as that. I tried to clear it up for her but I still felt annoyed and miffed afterward, no matter how hard I attempted to give her the benefit of the doubt. All of us can relate to these type situations. They happen all of the time. When Steve came home, I told him about it and sought his advice. He gave me some great pointers and then reminded me that even if I am right, I still am not supposed to go all martyr-like on him. People make mistakes and even if they never see their mistake, I still have to forgive them. Hmmmmmmmmmmm...but I don't like to forgive easily. I want to be right. I want to prove my point. I hadn't done anything wrong. Don't I need an apology from them?

A wise woman in our church, who has seen more years than me, has said on more than one occasion when addressing us younger women, that when we're in close community with one another we have to expect that we will rub elbows and it will hurt. We must learn to forgive quickly, seek forgiveness relentlessly and give grace abundantly. That has often stuck with me and keeps coming to my mind when I want to tell myself I still have a reason to be annoyed. Even though this time I was the one who felt I had been "wronged", there will be many times when I will be the one who makes the wrong call, who doesn't check all the facts and hurts somebody else. I need to seek forgiveness then as well.

These situations always dictate an immediate response whether I'm on the receiving end or the giving end. And I don't have a choice. I must choose to forgive. My heart will follow. What it really comes down to, no matter what side of the situation I'm on, is my pride. Either I don't want to seek forgiveness due to pride or I want to be right and be thought of in the correct way.

I should really take a cue from my kids. When one of them whacks the other, the offended will often stand there, with tears streaming down their cheeks, and resolutely say, "I forgive you!" when they are asked. It doesn't take them long. And then they're back at playing together before their tears have even been dried from their eyes. Why can't I be like that? When I don't forgive quickly it makes me feel bad. Isn't it better to get it over with and be back in fellowship? Dragging it out due to wanting to be right, just makes it worse for me. Do I really want to be a glutton for punishment over something so silly?

I'm older and I know better. Yet I still struggle with forgiveness more than them and often it's over very small things. Maybe that's why Jesus said that if one wants to enter the kingdom he has to become like a little child. For all that we're supposed to be teaching them, we get quite a bit of learning done ourselves.

Rubbing elbows hurts. But at least we're in close contact with others. That's a blessing. So as much as it hurts sometimes, we must take the good with the bad, seek truth, forgive quickly and completely. If only I could apply that to every situation I come up against. I can try. And when I need help, I'll be getting daily examples from the little ones...enough to keep my head on straight and my heart humbled. Enter like a child--like a precious, impulsive, loves-without-abandon little child. Only then can we see the depths of the kingdom of God.

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