Forgive like you have been forgiven – 70×7

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“It is not easy to forgive,…but bitterness is corrosive. Like a container filled with salt, it will destroy everything because the Lord cannot forgive us if we cannot forgive others. Life is wonderful if we let God heal us.

I am thinking and mulling about forgiveness and a poem I have been asked to write.  I have never written a poem this way, so I’ve been anxious about it.  Part of the problem is that God has kicked my butt on the topic of forgiveness and I’m learning a mile a minute.

Some of the prose I wrote earlier on my blog were only the beginning.  Who knew!  It’s a difficult but good experience and I look forward (that doesn’t seem to be the right word) to seeing the outcomes in the form of a poem. (I do not envy preachers, as whatever topic you are preaching on the Lord would be convicting you about in your own life.)  I have been given several opportunities lately to ponder and carry out (or not – we always have the choice) the act of mercy.  The act of forgiving.

Sometimes we fail.  Sometimes the things we struggle with from our past seem bigger than that seemingly puny thing – the act of forgiving.  I think it’s a strange thing and it is not a human act.  I can intellectually decide that I want to forgive my father because it would be good for me and I believe in it out of religious conviction.  But it is only in that miraculous moment that it becomes something.  I choose, God works and God’s timing is unknowable.  We obey, we open our heart, we clear our mind, we “say” to God ‘take this x, y, and z because I’m sick and tired of it’ and in some incredible, unknowable, magical, miracle it is done.

The power of this miracle in my life — in my faith, relationships and personal health has changed me as a person.  How forgiveness has changed you?

This is not my typical way of writing a poem.  My poems erupt out of the experiences of my life.  This thoughtfulness and care is good and difficult.

70×7. Unimaginable in some situations.

I will continue to write and see what comes.  I am hoping a poem, but we’ll see.

Here’s a link to something else I’ve written about forgiveness recently which you may have read.

The quotation above is from an incredible article I read on the Faith & Leadership website at Duke University. A description and an excerpt is below.

After her daughter was kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, Angelina Atyam realized that her mission was not just to secure the child’s release, but to forgive her captors and work for peace and reconciliation.

by Sherry Williamson

Sevens surface as a motif throughout the transformation of “Mama Angelina” from a soft-spoken nurse-midwife and mother of six to an international activist seeking the release of all Uganda’s abducted children.

Atyam’s daughter was among an estimated 35,000 youth, some as young as 6, that the Ugandan government believes were abducted by the LRA during nearly 20 years of fighting. From 1987 until a ceasefire was signed in 2006, the LRA used children as human shields in battles with government troops. Boys were forced to become soldiers; girls were enslaved as “wives” to rebel leaders.

The path Atyam pursued to negotiate the children’s release — and to further peace and reconciliation within her country — was inconceivable for many other parents, but she was resolute. Guided by the Lord’s prayer, she and other parents of abducted children began to pray for forgiveness of the rebel soldiers.

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