Friday, July 31, 2009


(Editor's note: forgive ME if you've read this post before. I have two readers who wanted to borrow from it for church talks this week.)

My ex-boyfriend used to call me "Satan Claus" (see left) because of my ability to hold a grudge. Oh, believe me, I knew who'd been naughty and I KEPT A LIST, MISTER.

I moderated this unfortunate habit when I fell in love with The Todd, who is the kindest and most forgiving of men. Mind you, he forgives, but doesn't forget. Cross him enough and you're out of the club. But he never nursed a grudge the way I can. Producer Mike, our dear friend and diabolically funny ex-producer used to call it "The Crisper of Hate." He and I loved to keep our grudges in The Crisper of Hate, and take them out and mull over them, just as fresh and outrageous as the day we stored them there.

I didn't get offended so much for myself (though I believe to this day that other drivers are put on the road just to annoy me) but for others that I loved. We're Scottish, and my favorite quote is "The enemy of my friend is my enemy." I hated the store clerk who was rude to my girlfriend Annika. I hated the lift operator at Snowbird's slide ride who was a complete jerk to the little girls from Kenya because they didn't know how to ride a ski lift. I mean, HELLO? They're from A-F-R-I-C-A, they don't have a lot of SKI LIFTS there, pal! And they're 8! Way to yell at an eight-year old non-ski lift using kid from Africa! Geez! (Editor's note: okay, that one was from today so I should get a pass on that.)

My mother can't stand this quality in me. After telling her once that I tried and tried to forgive someone who'd been inexcusably cruel to The Todd and his children, she sent me this excerpt from "The Hiding Place." Corrie Ten Boom was an amazing little Dutch woman who hid dozens of Jews in a secret space in her home from the Nazis. She was eventually caught and with her sister, sent to a concentration camp to die. Corrie survived, but her beloved sister did not. An SS guard who'd been especially sadistic to her sister showed up years later at a speech Corrie gave. Don't read the following 'till you're ready to let go. I was ticked off at my mom for years for forcing me to evolve. Which means...I still hold a grudge.


Here's the link. Have tissues ready.
For author Corrie ten Boon, the ultimate lesson in forgiveness came at a very unexpected time. In her book "The Hiding Place," she writes the following: It was at a church in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there - the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie's pain blanched face. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. "How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein," he said. "To think that, as you say, 'He has washed my sins away'!" His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal on the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile; I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again, I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give him Your forgiveness. As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness, any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment