Forgivness and Peacemaking

mayaangelou

Forgiveness is hard. I stopped demanding my kids say sorry or I forgive you a while ago, because forgiveness is a battle within a person I can’t force. It requires us to give up some version of the way we thought life should be and let it be what it is. Messy, imperfect, and utterly human. It isn’t natural for us to go to forgiveness when another person messes up. We want justice, we want vengence, we want what we want, and if we forgive them it’s like we say it is okay to ruin our plans.

It’s  the only answer that will bring peace to our lives, but we can’t demand it from another person. It opens the door into reconciliation and restoration of relationship, but it is locked tight with anger, hurt, betrayal, spite and bitterness.

The only way the world will be set right lies within our own hearts, but most days we refuse to open it.

I have been reading the beatitudes this summer.  I just finished the beatitude on being a peacemaker.

Blessed-are-theAnd all week I thought about what it means to be a peacemaker. A peacemaker works for reconciliation, restoration and justice. And we are all children of God.

At the heart of peacemaking is forgiveness. Forgiving and loving ourselves so we can extend that love to the neighbor we aren’t so fond of. And this is a lesson we don’t go through just once in our life, but every single day.

Forgiveness requires us to look inside and pull out the spite we cling to with a death grip. The part of ourselves that clutches  anger like it is a life preserver. The part of ourselves that doesn’t want to let go of the world we demand.

In order to move forward we have to let go or like Buechner says, we will end up devouring ourselves.

If we can extract that anger, then we can look our neighbor in the eye and recall how hard it was to let go of spite, anger, and bitterness. We can see the conflict bouncing around in their own eyes. Then we see the battle we just faced, taking place inside them at that moment and how hard it is to win.

Win the fight for them, so they don’t have to.

Forgive them.

They probably won’t even know what happened, but right then, the earth shifted. Peacemaking happened and the kingdom of God broke through. The relationship might not have been completely restored, but you can breathe better can’t you?

Forgivness is the key that allows you to open the door to reconciliation that you had triple deadbolted. Once you step through that door restoration is within reach. If you keep forgiving yourself and every person you meet this world changes.

It becomes the kingdom of God on earth.

 

 

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