Friday, November 22, 2013

The work of forgiveness 2

One thing I am learning is that forgiveness moves in and out of focus. At times I believe I have completed the work with someone. A while later I remember some new, different thing that must be examined, considered, and forgiven. Although this does not set me back to square one, it does teach me that forgiveness is a journey that's a bit longer and more complicated than you might expect.

I try not to get frustrated by this, and instead see it as the way forgiveness works.

It is as if I am a farmer in the northeast preparing a field. At first, many rocks turn up in the field. Each of them must be dug out, examined, and put aside—perhaps into a rock wall. After a while of this, the field has far fewer rocks and can be used to grow crops.

Yet rocks still remain. In fact, some of them would probably have laid buried if it were not for the earlier plowing and removal of other rocks. Occasionally the plow will hit them unexpectedly. What does the farmer do? Once again dig up the rock, examine it, and add it to the rock wall. If the rock is left where it is, sure, crops can be grown. But whenever it's planting or harvest time, that rock will impede the process. Better to dig it up, deal with it, and then move on.

Forgiveness is like that, I think. We are walking this journey with God, open to examining and dealing with any rocks he brings to our attention, in the timing he chooses.

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