Sunday, 19 June 2011


Hmmm. I am astonished to see that, as yet, I have no posts on forgiveness.  Astonished because it's not as if I haven't had to practise - or receive - forgiveness!  I guess it just hasn't seemed important enough to blog about. Or I haven't wanted to approach that level of honesty here...

Yet Ayla has inspired me to be honest.  And Lysa has at Proverbs 31 Ministries offered some superb advice.

I wish I'd seen it a year or so ago.  Out of the blue, I received a long (several pages) email from a 'friend' - acquaintance would be unkind, as we had been in a Bible study group together.  (You would think that should unite us, wouldn't you?). The email was long, accusatory, furious.

The 'friend' had a history of mental illness - I hadn't seen her for some time: she had, apparently, recovered and was stable.  That made things more difficult since I couldn't, in all honesty, just put the email down to a 'blip' in her recovery.

As with all these things, there was a tiny grain of truth in a beachful of lies. I didn't know how to respond.

In the end, not knowing how ill she was, and not wanting to make things worse, I simply sent a short email, apologising for having (apparently) hurt her. Dropped a card and flowers on her doorstep.  Deleted the email. Tried to put it all behind me.

It was a salutary experience. It opened my eyes to the demands of perfectionism - in this woman, and in myself.

It's quite hard to be reminded that my relationships are not perfect. That I am not universally perceived as being 'nice'. That there are relationships in my life that are not happy, nor satisfying. That I fail. For that, I need to forgive myself, too.

God has shone his light on this area of my life to remind me that the bad news is that I am NOT perfect. And the good news? He's not finished with me yet!  Hallelujah!

And here is some more encouragement from Lysa Terkeust on keeping the peace, too...

This situation is a constant challenge: to practise forgiveness, to extend grace, to BE as nearly like Jesus as I can get. I have to renew my attitude daily, continue to extend love in my heart and practice what I preach: forgiveness. Forgiveness. Forgiveness.

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