Labeling and thoughts about forgiving and being forgiven.
The weather had turned warm, the sun was shining brightly, and it wasn't even Summer yet. All I had to wear over my clothes was the yellow windbreaker I'd just bought, instead of a coat. I took a long-sleeved pullover with me when I went shopping, just in case it cooled off like it often does at night.
I amused myself with the idea of what an icon might look like on the back of that windbreaker. My first thought was something comic related like "I'm Batman", since it is yellow. Honey Bees came to mind too.
Nah. I wondered what would be more meaningful. Then I asked myself--Do I really want a label?
I dislike labels. Labels carry with them expectations that you are what someone else believes you to be, and you have to live up to that expectation. Unless you don't. If it's something good, then that's okay, but what about the days that you don't live up to it? I like being consistant. Nobody would pay that much attention if it was something negative on the back such as I love to Sin. or I'm a Sinner. Somehow it seems more acceptable compared to I am an Angel.
What if you're a combination of both? What if internally you are positive and pure, but then life struggles cause you to be more negative and let your ego guide you? What if because you accept that you've done something that's not so good, you feel as if you're labeled forever? Sometimes it is easier to forgive others, but not yourself. Or is it that you're being as hard on others as you are on yourself? Everyone has done one thing or another at some time, which doesn't serve them well.
You've heard this before> Thou shall not judge. Judging implies that you know better than the other person when really you might not for some reason.
At some point in time, I came to realize that although I have good intentions, I might say or do something that doesn't work out so well for me. It could be unintentional unless it's when someone has pushed me a bit too far or thought something about me that isn't true. I either have a choice to "turn the other cheek" or fight back with my own verbal attack. But why? Is it really solving anything if the other person already has their mind made up about who I am?
In a way, it doesn't bother me that much, because obviously they don't know me. Besides, how do I know why or if they really believe such things? What if they have some kind of problem emotionally, or are on drugs, or there is some other reason. What if they are just giving back what they'd been given by someone else and I happen to be convenient? What if they have this need to put other people down? There are some people who thrive on that very thing. How would I know which kind of person they really are? It takes time. Either way they've been hurt at some point.
I am not a professional counselor or negotiator, so sometimes I just walk away. I do that to either soothe my hurt feelings or so that I don't make matters worse, because with hurt feelings comes anger sooner or later. In some cases, it's a sacrifice. It means I have to separate myself from the person who I feel can't possibly forgive or forget, or so I assume. This could be someone that I love and can't imagine life without, and then I fall into the pit of despair.
Forgiveness is the key word here. I will relate something that happened to me recently. Since my car hasn't been working for so long now, I wasn't able to get around so easily, and especially on the weekend. Although I don't consider myself a "religious" person, I do have faith and have gone to church before. It's just something I like to do now and then. I use to fall asleep during sermons at other churches but this one seems more lively and even has a stage and some singing, besides having one of the pastors speak.
I hadn't been to church in several weeks, and missed it, Some church members where I have attended church before brought me a bag of items. Tissue paper was at the top, but just beneath that was a quilt--a lap quilt. I unfolded it and stared at the beautiful designs created. It even had dogs on it. Something inside me tightened up and then tears spilled out of me.
Nobody had ever made me anything like that. More than likely the person who made it doesn't know me, but what a kind and thoughtful thing they'd done. Along with the package was some books. I picked them up, scanned them and then put them back down until I could view them more closely. I'd gotten so busy with laundry and cooking, and shopping and just maintaining my home, and so I temporarily put the idea of reading them on hold.
Then a day or so went by. I glanced toward the lap quilt, put it over me, running my hand along its edges and along its top. I looked toward the bag with the books, and wondered if these were like some others a sister had sent me. I decided to investigate and grabbed one of the slim books. It was called, An Anchor for the Soul by Ray Pritchard. Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop. I read it from cover to cover. . It wasn't really anything new that I discovered, but simply reaffirmed what I already had felt. God thoughts swirled around in my head and into my heart.
There was several sentences that stood out for me, but this was the first one to bring tears to my eyes.
"The greatest gifts in life are the ones we don't deserve."
It also reminds me of who gave the greatest gift of all.
That tells me that I'm both forgiven and can forgive others for the things they said or done.
Oh. How great it is to be loved like that.