Lent with the Lord's Prayer
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I'm not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I'm still waiting
I'm through with doubt
There's nothing left for me to figure out
I've paid a price
And I'll keep paying
I'm not ready to make nice
I'm not ready to back down
I'm still mad as hell and
I don't have time to go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
'Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is you think I should
I know you said
Can't you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it
Dixie Chicks Not Ready to Make NiceThis is a song that is on my bad day playlist. I had done something to upset the powers that be at a church I was serving. I asked questions about how things are run and thought things should change. But I forgot as the pastor I was just a visitor. The church would be their long after I had left. So my need to fix them conflicted with their need to stay the way they were. It all came to a head with an ambushed confrontation with a group of people who wanted me to do what they thought was right. The night of that meeting I received my first hate text, it wasn’t even from a participant but from a family member. A text that made me feel unsafe. This was a string of a number of such texts. During this time of wondering what God intended for me to do. Was I meant to be a pastor? How in the world could a Christian pastor not want to forget, forgive? I mean one of the basics of the church is to let go and reconcile with those you have wronged. But how to reconcile when your wrongdoing sends someone over the top into behavior that could lead to unemployment. I kind of like to eat and provide the best for my son. I happen during this time to watch “Shut Up and Sing” the documentary about the Dixie Chicks and what happened after Natalie criticized George Bush in London. I could relate. What I had done wasn’t so bad that someone could want bad to happen to me.
Forgive sounds good, forget I don’t think I could.
It took me a while to move into the place of wanting to forgive and be forgiven, because there was so much pain, anger and fear. Sometimes all we can do is wait. Time passes and the emotion fades. As the emotion fades then forgiveness becomes possible. I was able to move from the pain expressed in “I’m not Ready to Make Nice” into the hope and peace that comes when we forgive and are forgiven.
As you pray today, bring to mind the person or situation that causes you pain. As you move toward forgiveness be kind and gentle with yourself. Allow all the words to come, when you feel the resistance to forgiving, know that it is a normal human response. It is not easy to let go and forgive. As you feel yourself holding onto the pain, anger, fear start breathing and on your breath say I forgive you. You may have to say this many times, over many prayers. It takes time to move to the point at which you can say I forgive you and mean it.