When I was in business, “learnings” were also called “the take-away” as in:
What is it you will take away from this situation?
It’s true that we learn in all the situations of our life, regardless of how good or how bad the situations are. We learn. It might be as simple as “I learned never to do that again!” or as complex as “I learned that if I do (this thing) to (that person) then I receive (this outcome.)”
Each of these “take-aways” builds on the next and over a lifetime we grow from smart to wise. From short-sighted to big picture.
We have a great deal to learn when we experience the most difficult of human emotions: forgiveness. It’s tough to forgive somebody when they have done some past wrong. And even worse when we believe that they have done some past wrong and they really didn’t: we just painted a dark canvas in our mind that grew larger and darker over time.
Some folks in our lives fall into that “I can forgive them for what they did, but I can never forget.” Some we have to forgive under the moral duress of “forgive your enemies.” Not much is more difficult than standing up in church and praying for the people who hate us and want to do us wrong, but in order to be moral people, we must.
How is it that a mother can walk into a prison, visit the man who shot and killed her son, and say, “I forgive you and I am praying for you“? That’s tough, and I wonder in my own meditations if I would have that strength of character to realize that to forgive that person of what should be the most unforgivable transgression is to put that situation in the past, to move on, and begin a new and different life from that point forward.
In a less sanguine example, think about this in politics. The folks who stand up and say the most grievous things about us, whispers, half-truths and lies, they legislate against us, and they stand up in their own bully pulpit and shout to the world how bad we are. How do we come to forgive that?
How, Lord? Teach us forgiveness!
Of course Jesus taught this very plainly in the Lord’s Prayer in a sentence that we recite many many times and probably never stop to hear both sides of what we are saying:
- Forgive us our trespasses
- as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Before we can be truly loving and forgiving people it is necessary to remember that we, too, are forgiven for every fault and foible we have. Our act of forgiveness – besides being an emotional soul cleanser – is a living example of the circle of love between the Maker and us. The Creator loves and forgives us – we do our best to forgive those around us who have done us wrong – we are “rewarded” with a more clear conscience, more hours of sleep at night, and a happy soul. And by showing God’s love to us by forgiving others, God simply loves us more, forgives us again, and the circle continues.
Forgiveness is difficult. It’s all about growing up, which is why it is more difficult for “hard hearted” adults than it is for children playing together. Follow the children’s example and keep the circle turning.
Keep the faith!
God of Life,
You want us to be free,
you constantly offer your forgiveness to us.
Help us to understand that
we welcome this,
when we – ourselves – forgive those who hurt us.
Then it is that
we recognize we are poor,
and you can fill us with your compassion.