Forgiveness.

I came across this pin on Pinterest. It resonates with how I feel at the moment.

image

I know I need to do this for my own piece of mind but I’m finding it impossibly hard at the moment. Each time we encounter another hardship or another bill drops through the door I’m blaming my enemies for the way life is now.

The Bible says we should love our enemies. It’s easy to agree with biblical principles when you don’t have to put your money where your mouth is and obey those precepts. Praying for grace right now. I know my enemies aren’t sorry, they will probably never be. In fact if they had the chance they’d probably stick the boot in again…….

Likes & Dislikes.

I like the comforting rhythm of a ticking clock,
I like the small but perfectly formed Cortado coffee,
I like the heavy eyed feeling of relaxing on the sofa while the kids are still at school.

I hate bills that come in unexpected batches upsetting my budgeting,
I hate working out at the gym,
I hate getting drenched in the rain,
I hate not finishing books.

All of the things I’ve mentioned are not strictly good or bad. They are just part of trying to keep a life in balance.

A platitude that causes pain.

As today is baby loss awareness day it reminded me of the time a well meaning acquaintance remarked on a miscarriage I’d suffered years before.
During a conversation with my Mother they said ” Oh well she’s still young enough to have more children”. I was young enough and went on to have 3 more children bringing our complement up to 4. But their remark still stung.

Yes I had more children but I loved that baby, I wanted that baby and I grieved for it. My other children weren’t a replacement for it.

We have been studying in church recently about encouragement and what often passes for it when it leaves our mouths.

Too often our encouragement is a well meaning lie or meaningless platitude. Meant to convey sympathy without adding actions to it.

For example we frequently tell people we know how they feel, we understand what they’re going through, that things will pass, that everything will be okay, when in fact we don’t always know that for sure.

This does not make us bad people to want to show sympathy to our friends and others we encounter. In fact I think it’s a natural human reaction to want to alleviate another’s suffering or pain.

Where it departs from the ideal is those instances we voice an insincere platitude because we don’t know what to say to make things better or to fill a conversational silence, as I have done on occasion.

Other times our sympathy should be backed up with action, a chance to demonstrate our care such as visiting a friend in hospital, making that phone call, writing that letter, sending that text.

No one wants to feel invisible. No one wants to fall between the cracks in society but the deeply sad truth is people do.

We pack people on their way with a band aid over the gaping wound in their lives and wonder why they struggle to pick up the pieces. No wonder Jesus weeps. It makes me weep to think of it.

I remember praying for a lady who was going through a very tough time. I felt so inadequate to express myself because her pain was so raw. When she went away I felt as if all I’d done was give her an elastoplast and tell her to sort herself out.

There will be times when words are not necessary or enough. In those times just sitting in silence with someone or hugging them is more appropriate. People need to know they are cared for.
And with regards to encouraging or praising others when they do a good job too often we are silent, perhaps thinking someone else will tell them or they must know how good they are at that particular thing.

People don’t always know.

And to borrow a quote “Encourage the good wherever you see it and if you can’t see it look harder”.

Insincerity

I once knew a man who would look everywhere but at you when he was talking. He would initiate a conversation, seem interested in what your response would be but his body language would tell a completely different story.

He would be constantly looking over your shoulder, wouldn’t meet your eyes and the conversation would dry up. I’m not adept at small talk anyway so any discussion was ultimately doomed. It felt as if he was just passing time with you until somebody better came along he would rather spend time with.

At the time it hurt my feelings. I was young and insecure and felt not good enough. I soon came to realise though that his pattern was repeated with other people also.

I admit it changed my opinion of him. I went from liking this person to having an unflattering opinion of him that wrote him off as shallow and unlikable.

Even today insincerity is one of my pet peeves. I can’t stand it. I can deal with the fact people may not want to interact with me. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea or coffee but if that is the case why make social overtures in the first place?

Once again however I’m convicted by the fact that the qualities I dislike in others are those that are prevalent in myself! On occasion I am insincere. I dread to think it but I know it’s true that sometimes I treat people the way that man treated me.

I have not seen this man for many years but now I am able to view those conversations more sympathetically. I can give him the benefit of the doubt. I can see that there might have been more than one scenario going on.

Perhaps this gregarious man was not as full of confidence as he appeared. Perhaps I didn’t know him as well as I thought I did. Perhaps he too suffered from insecurity and his body language was actually a result of that. If that really is the case then I empathise with him because I know the daily agony of living with insecurity and feeling everybody is good enough apart from you.