Blessed Are Those Who Forgive

Blessed are those who forgive
who seventy times seven turn their cheek

Blessed are those who hold no records of wrongs done to them
who run the tally sheets through the shredder
and then burn them
just to be sure they are gone

Blessed are those who let go of anger
and frustration with others
who hold people with open hands
like the fragile beings that we are

For they shall see God
in the faces of those
they have forgiven.

K is for Kindness

Part of my morning quiet time includes a creed — to remind myself of those things I believe to be true. It started with the basic Apostles’ Creed, but has grown. One part that I added is this:

I believe that the trials in my life are ultimately God’s good for me. They are like the grains of sand in an oyster that God uses to produce pearls.

The world is an unkind place. It’s full of people who thumb their noses and stick out their tongues.

Yesterday, in the checkout at the grocery store, the young woman behind me, obviously upset by something that had happened, said to her companion, “I just want to punch her in the face.”

With violent words, we betray the frustrations in our hearts.

This past Sunday, I was especially frustrated by a situation I knew that my father would encounter, where he would be excluded and pushed aside. The mama-bear in me raised her hackles and lashed out with words — words I didn’t entirely regret but wish I had said with a little more kindness.

When I put together this collage, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was saying, but when looking for a “K” collage, I paused on it. Yes, I think I know now. It’s about right responses. It’s about kindness. So timely for me today.

The one boy is obviously the bully. He’s not nice. He’s not being nice.

The man is ready to rush in and give him a good smack.

But the other boy, he’s still extending the ping-pong paddle.

In kindness.

“Come and play,” he seems to be saying.

It’s Jesus. He constantly says, “There, there. I see. I know. Come unto me, you weary, heavy-laden, frustrated, overwhelmed child. I still love you. I still want to play ping-pong with you.”

And as I yield to Him, He adds another layer to the grit in my life, working to create a pearl.


Background from The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd

Man from My Dad’s Job by Peter Glassman, illustrated by Timothy Bush

Ping-pong paddle boy from My Fun With Words by James Ertel, illustrated by Geoffrey Brittingham, Seymour Fleishman, Vernon McKissack

Bully from Wheels on the Bus (a Raffi Song to Read book) illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz Wickstrom

Trolls

I have a little troll who likes to visit me;
The pleasure that he gets from it is more than I can see.
He crawls out nearly monthly, from underneath his rock,
And writes a little comment full of unkind ugly talk.

I’ve tried to just ignore him. I’ve notified police,
And pastors, friends, and family. I’ve asked that he just cease.
He changes names like t-shirts in an effort to conceal
His identity but there’s no doubt — this troll is very real..

Father Thomas, quite by accident, kicked a nest of trolls.
They railed at him (IN ALL CAPS) ne’er retreating to their holes.
They summoned other uglies, who joined the angry mob
In giving Father Thomas quite the hatchet job.

But Thomas preached forgiveness – and his words gave me a chill —
“Forgiveness,” he said wisely, “is an act of your own will.*
You may desire justice, but mercy may be better.
Dismiss the debt that’s owed you and forgive the debtor.”

I wanted to ask Thomas — “Does this apply to trolls
Who threaten and attack you and seem to have no souls?”
I knew what he would answer. At least, I had a guess —
Trolls are really humans. God does not love them less.

Created in God’s image. His breath, their breath — and more,
His mercy for their troll-ness, their awfulness He bore.
So daily now, I pray for him — this troll who visits me —
That from the hate which binds him he would some day be free.

*****

Father Thomas is Thomas McKenzie, an Anglican priest who blogs at thomasmckenzie.com. An audio of his sermon on forgiveness can be found here: Making Change, Part Five of Five

*What he actually said was, “This is just Christian ethical consideration for what you do in the event of trespass… Forgiveness relieves the tension in the ‘mercy versus justice’ option.”