By SOPHIE DRUFFNER
"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
Family arguments: lots of yelling, name-calling, and screaming by people who would die if only to save you. And then, the make-ups: “You’re not sorry.” “You don’t mean that.” “You’re just going to do the same thing again.” “You said sorry last time.” And then, the forgetting, and the repeat a few months later…
How much more God feels hurt when we repeat the same transgression over and over again. “God, I’m sorry.” “I won’t do it again.” How many times He could say, if He chose: “You’re not sorry.” “You don’t mean that. “You’re just going to do the same thing again.” “You said sorry last time.”
But he doesn’t.
And he keeps forgiving us all over again. He sees us when we say that insult under our breath, the anger we feel when someone insults us, the pain we feel when we wish that we could have drew back our hand at that last moment. It’s really incredible that he could keep forgiving us even til the final moments of our lives—we can say “sorry” even then, if we mean it! For even the most heinous of crimes. And God will only forgive us.
But even though God will forgive us, who wants to hurt Him again and again and again? So before you insult your husband or your mother-in-law, before you say something that you know will hurt them, close your mouth and turn away. Before you wish to hurt someone just as bad as they hurt you, unclench your fists and walk away.
I read somewhere that physical exercise is the best thing when you’re mad. It reduces the tension you feel and lets you get all that anger out with ever footfall on the cement. And with every footfall, you are one step farther away from your problems and with distance, the problem diminishes.
So next time you’re seconds away from a huge family fight, close your mouth, turn around, and go for a walk. Come back when you realize that there’s a simple way to talk about whatever’s bothering you, or when you realize that problem wasn’t worth worrying about at all. Enjoy the sunlight on the trees, the way the suburban flowers look at you with all their colors ablaze, the way the sun warms you, the way the wind dries the cool sweat on your face, the scents of the newly-mown grass. Then think about how the other people in the soon-to-be argument feel, what they might think of the problem, and if the problem is really worth worrying about at all. Then come back, apologize, and start talking, but only if the problem is really as big as you think it is.