Touching the Hot Stove – a prayer of contrition

Have you heard the idea of the “hot stove” – of not jumping to all sorts of hysterical craziness in the heat of your anger and upset? More often than not we end up apologizing for stomping on a situation in our anger, of grinding it into the dust, of killing the fly with a cannon because we are so angry. If we touch that red-hot stove, we burn our own fingers.

It happens and slips out some times because we are all innately human. We make mistakes. And if we are decent in our humanity, we apologize for our mistakes and continue on. We sincerely apologize.

Imagine for a moment what would happen of God became that angry at us for our mistakes. How terrible would that be?  What can we learn and apply to our own lives from that thought?

This prayer is from Jeremiah 10:23-24. Study on it, and …
keep the faith!

 

O LORD,
I know that my life is not my own.
It is not for me to direct my steps.

O, LORD,
Correct me with gentle justice –
Not in anger, lest you reduce me to nothing.

 – Amen

 

 

How can you love somebody else if…? – A Meditation

You know this line that makes a lot of sense in the broader look at our life, but one of those pieces of advice that are difficult to hear when pointed directly at us. My grandmother called this “Easier said than done.”

How in the Hell are you going to love somebody else
if you can’t love yourself? (Can I get an Amen up in here?)

The answer again is: you just do it. The habit of forgiveness soon becomes a lifestyle of forgiveness, soon becomes a life full of forgiveness.

How the Hell, indeed!

Forgiveness and understanding begins within ourselves, then our friends, and by then you grow those spiritual muscles to let you be forgiving to those who hate you and mean you harm. This doesn’t mean to give in to them and accept their hurt, but you realize that through forgiveness of their hatred towards you, you take the power to create whatever change is necessary to remove the hatred from the air.

Yourself, then friends, then others.

See that you do not pay back
evil for evil,
but always seek what is good,
both among yourselves
and for others.

1 Ths. 5:12-22

Keep the faith!
 – Amen

 

 

Learning in Forgiveness – a prayer

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:

  1. Forgive us our trespasses
  2. 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,
and so
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.

Amen