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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 186 - Forgiveness Is A Mountain

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As a caregiver to the terminally ill, you have probably seen something of "the review of my life" that most of the dying go through, a kind of stock-taking...how did I do?

A lot of this will probably be relational, because death does focus one on the question of how we lived with other people?

Was I a good spouse?

Was I a good parent to my children, and child to my own parents?

Did I keep my friendships the way I should have?

And then there are the enemies. For a Christian, the question...and it a very important one...is did I forgive them?

Sometimes forgiveness comes easy, but at other times...especially when the relationship with the enemy was close...it's a lot harder, and many terminally ill folks feel a kind of despair that they can't really let go of their anger, their hate, their unforgiving spirit.

There's a fallacy there, and that's in the word let go.

We aren't computers; we can't delete memories (actually, when you delete a file in your computer you aren't physically erasing the whole thing, you're erasing the computer's 'knowledge' of where the file is stored and freeing up the space to be overwritten over time because it's no longer associated with a remembered 'address').

Our memories remain, and they can be quite a burden, raising us to anger twenty years after the fact, an anger as rough and raw as it was when the offense was committed.

Is there any hope? Sure, as long as we don't look at forgiveness as a door through which we pass, and close behind us.

It's more of a mountain that we are trying to climb. Sometimes we can make good progress, but other times, we his a patch of loose rock and go sliding down. Partway, or even all the way to the bottom.

Forgiveness is not a single act. It's a commitment to climb that mountain, even when we slip.

And there's no need for despair, because as long as we are moving upward, we are forgiving.

Marley update...he's received a lot of support, but STILL NEEDS HELP TO BE SAVED.


If you have a mment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.

If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

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  1. Great thoughts and analogy, Andrew. Yes, forgiveness is a continual journey and often feels like climbing the side of Mount Everest! I hope that you feel that you've climbed that mountain well. I can see it in the "heights" you've scaled here on your blog. Thanks so much for being a great tour guide of that climb in life and marriage--especially for those who are keenly aware that every day is not guaranteed. I do hope you are doing better, my friend. I continue to pray daily for you, even when I am away from my blog.

    1. Beth, please pardon my tardy reply. A few bad days here.

      I do my best with forgiveness, but sometimes an old anger will flare up and I have to be mindful in quenching it. And I think that is they key; though it may be tempting to indulge for a minute, it's the road to perdition.

      Thank you so much for being here, my friend!

  2. Replies
    1. UP, yes, SUsan!

      XOXOXO WagWagWaggityWaggyWagWOOF!

  3. Seventy times seven. Forgiveness is an act of charity., they didn't deserve it...they hurt us. Maybe we didn't deserve it either, we hurt people...and they have to do something with it. Will they forgive us?
    We forgive for our sake, but also for their sake. It's not just for the biggies but it is for all those little slights and digs that shamed, degraded, or alienated us. You're right. Forgiveness is a hill to climb. It's good we have some support on the God side. It is one of those complexities in life. I am more convinced than ever that simplicity is the goal, a spiritual life that is simple in its reality. We forgive, we move forward, and we take nothing with us for the journey (figuratively in this case). Bless you, Andrew. This is good stuff.

    1. You said this beautifully, Norma. Thank you.

      And yes, they key is to travel light!

  4. Great words on forgiveness...not an easy thing in any situation. I have forgiven some throughout my years; other instances have been hard for me to forgive the person for...

    As for taking stock of our life...I think we all need to do that from time to time; you know, like a store takes stock (or inventory) of their merchandise; perhaps we need to take stock of our life thus far...we, none of us, knows how long before our life will end; yet, I totally understand in your situation feeling it's that time to take stock. Not something I am ready to do yet...

    Still with you; still praying...forgive my words if I say a wrong thing! I feel "open" sometimes but hope I don't say hurtful things!

    1. Barbara, your heart shines through your words. You have a heart for Christ, and you'll not go wrong. No worries, ever.

      I struggle with forgiving a few people, and have to beat back the anger sometimes daily. Mindfulness is the key, I think.

      Thank you so much for being here, my friend.

  5. We can forgive, but it's usually wise if we don't forget. The remembering, even while releasing, can be a difficult dance. But it can help us to be savvy and wise when the next situation comes around that kinda looks like the one we've been redeemed from ...

    1. Linda, please forgive my tardy reply...and this is exactly right! Forgiveness does not imply, nor is it meant to, an automatic normalization of a relationship.

      A criminal can be forgiven, but it doesn't mean that he won't pay the lawful price for his transgressions. That, Jesus never said.

      Great point, my friend!