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Why do we forgive?

I follow the ELCA on twitter & every morning they post a question or a prayer or a Bible verse, something like that. Most of the time it’s something that goes way over the 140 character limit that twitter gives you but today it was just the question “Why do we forgive?”

My immediate answer was to go back to the line in the Lord’s prayer – ‘Forgive us our trepasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’

We forgive because we want to be forgiven. Then I thought, how shallow is that huh?

Some people were answering the question with things like;

  • to forgive is to be forgiven.
  • we forgive because we are forgiven.
  • you never know when you’ll be on the end needing forgiveness.

I guess that last one is something like a karma kinda thing. What goes around comes around. If you forgive someone now then when you need forgiveness it’ll be right there waiting.

I’m pretty sure I need constant forgiveness. I screw up ALL THE TIME! I do, I guess its part of my charm.

I forgive because I want to be forgiven. That was my immediate response. How greedy does that sound?? Wow. I shocked myself with that answer I guess.

Christ died so that my sins would be forgiven. Thats already a done deal. My sins are forgiven.

I’ve written before about how hard it is for me to forgive some people. For me to say that I am forgiving someone just so I can be forgiven is actually kind of ridiculous the more I write about the idea.

Giving something just so i can get something in return is jealous & defeats the whole purpose.

My sins are already forgiven.

Why do we forgive? To become more Christ-like. He forgives & so should I.

Its not easy to do, but its the way things should be.

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Not exactly a lazy Sunday.

I like to take it easy on Sundays. Ha, I like to take it easy every day actually – but especially Sundays. Today, like most Sundays, I just kinda hung out. Put my feet up, played some video games with Andrew, watched some football… EZ does it…

Physically I took it easy. Mentally – quite the workout today!

At church we are in the second week (first “discussion” week) of a small group study called Starting Point. We talked about why the Scripture matters to us, where we see God in our personal story, and we read the David & Goliath story. It was a good discussion & really started my brain churning.

In Sunday school, Andrew learned about Noah & the Ark, so he & I talked a little about that.

—Tangent alert— note: I know the jist of some of these Bible stories, but I’m quickly learning thats about all I know. For example, I know God was mad at mankind for how they were living so He planned to flood the world. He told Noah who was a good man to build an ark and get 2 of every animal so that the earth could be repopulated. Noah does all this, God floods the world then eventually everything dries up & God puts up a rainbow as His promise that He won’t flood the world again. I also knew that David killed Goliath with something like a sling shot & that David also grows up to be a king. My know how with these stories isn’t much.

Anyway, the actual sermon today was on the parable of the shrewd manager.  Not exactly the easiest parable to understand.  Back at the house I’m reading a book called Velvet Elvis which they read at church awhile back. I was able to attend the classes but saw the book at the library so I picked it up & its been very engrossing so far.

So to recap, my spiritual day has included:

  • David & Goliath
  • Noah & the Ark
  • Parable of the shrewd manager
  • Velvet Elvis
  • reflection on how & where I see God in my story

I’m not complaining, one of the biggest things I enjoy about regularly attending church is how I’m constantly being challenged to rethink things. Sometimes, I didn’t even realize there was a different side of something.

I’m just saying I don’t really know the last time my brain was given such a workout. I feel the burn but its a good burn.

Add to all that I’ve had a fantasy football team to manage!

Man, I’ve had the synapses firing today!! Fun stuff.

You can learn a lot from a kid.

My son and I have this little thing we do. We go to the barber shop and get haircuts then we walk next door to McDonald’s and have a snack and play.
Well, we’re playing now. I just thought it was kinda neat – there is a Spanish speaking family, an Asian family, a family from India maybe and Andrew & I.
All of us adults are speaking amongst our little groups in different languages. Things like languages, belief, culture, race,.whatever can be deciding factors for some people when it comes to who we want to ‘play’ with.
I just thought it was cool that all these kids didn’t give any of that a second thought. Everyone is playing together and speaking a universal language. I think people should be more like these kids sometime.

Hey Robert, can you define ‘Darwin Award’? Of course I can.

from the Associated Press:

NH teen who zapped nipples during shop class sues

(AP) – 2 days ago

DOVER, N.H. — A New Hampshire high school student shocked so severely in shop class that his heart stopped beating is suing his teacher, the school district and the city of Dover.

Kyle Dubois and his parents claim teacher Thomas Kelley did not warn Dubois and other students of the dangers of the electrical demonstration cords in their electrical trades class.

On March 11, Dubois attached an electrical clamp to one nipple while another student attached another clamp to the other. A third student plugged in the cord.

Dubois was critically injured.

The New Hampshire Union Leader says Dubois’ suit contends he suffered permanent brain damage.

Kelley resigned from his teaching position about a month after the incident. He declined to comment on the lawsuit.

I don’t usually use these internet acronyms but, SMH.

(I always feel like) Somebody’s watching me.

NPR published this article on their All Things Considered program. The gist of it is that people, all people,  behave differently is they think they are being watched. Even if they believe they are being watched only by a supernatural being.

There was a study done where 3 groups of kids (ages 5-9) were asked to hit a bull’s eye with a ball thrown behind their backs with their non-dominant hand.  If they could hit it they’d get some kind of cool prize. One group was given the instructions and then left to their own devices. The second group was watched by an attendant while trying to hit the target. The third group was told that an ‘invisible princess’ was sitting in a chair in the room and watching them. How many of the 8 & 9 year olds that actually believed an invisible princess could exist isn’t noted.

The group that was left on their own had the most kids cheat at the game. The kids that were watched by an attendant and by an invisible princess had far less cheaters.

Ok, so kids under supervision, real or imagined, followed the rules. Unsupervised kids acted like kids.

The article goes on to say that the same is true of adults but substitute the invisible princess for  God, Allah, Vishnu.

Even atheists are swayed by this supernatural force but they are able to ‘stuff it back’ and continue thinking rational thoughts. I was a little confused by the phrase ‘confirmed atheist’. I didn’t know there was a judging body for atheism. Or a card they got to carry.

Anyway, we now think – what about laws? Don’t laws and punishments for breaking these laws keep people from just doing whatever they want? Yes, they do. Now. But many years ago they didn’t have laws (they didn’t?). So people were acting decent based on their beliefs in a higher power.  Even those many of these people were of polytheistic religions where Good/Bad are not strictly defined by their gods.

No real profound statements by me here, I think the article was kind of silly but felt it was something worth sharing.

Congratulations!

Congratulations guys!

Congratulations to the Pearland little league team for making it so far in the Little League World Series!

They ended up coming in fourth out of teams from all over the world ~ not bad at all!

I had fun watching these guys play. They have a ton of heart and played every game tough.

Thanks & Congrats, y’all made Texas proud!

I’ll pray for you.

“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” – Matthew 5:44 (NLT)

“… and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  – The Lord’s Prayer

~

To be perfectly honest here, my ex-wife drives me crazy. We don’t get along at all. Its a shame since we have a son together. I’d go ahead and say she’s spiteful and cold-hearted and mean. I’m convinced she says and does thinks to make me upset. She probably wakes up every morning and thinks of ways to make me insane.

The purpose of this post isn’t to let everyone know how I feel about my ex-wife.

I think most of us have or have had someone in our lives that we just can’t stand. Or someone that for whatever reason can’t stand us. We have people that get us mad. Maybe you wouldn’t call these people your ‘enemy’ but you probably wouldn’t call them your friend either.

Matthew 5:39 says when someone strikes you on one cheek to turn the other to him also. I understand being the bigger person and not countering an insult with an insult. Not stooping to their level and that sort of thing. It isn’t always easy but I can usually ignore someone who is throwing around insults or trying to get under my skin.

But praying for them is A LOT tougher.

When it comes to my ex-wife, I pray that she is a good mother to our son. I can pray for her because, by proxy, I feel like I am praying for my son.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve mumbled to myself  “If you weren’t Andrew’s mom… mumblemumblemumble…”.

I found myself the other nite trying to pray for her. Just no strings attached, dear God please let her be happy and successful and everything fantastic. And to continue being perfectly honest, it was HARD. Harder than I ever thought praying should be.

In the Lord’s Prayer, probably the most well known prayer in all of Christianity, we ask God to forgive us in the same manner we forgive others. I’m guilty of just rushing the prayer sometimes – I’m sure lots of people are. But when you actually go line by line through it, this is the one that really sticks out to me. We are asking God to forgive us in the same manner we forgive people that do wrong by us.

I’m asking to be forgiven like I forgive my ex-wife for doing whatever she’s done to me. Or like I forgive that guy that cut me off and gave me the finger. Or like I forgive a guy that broke into my car.

That statement really carries a lot of weight for me. Its not always easy to forgive but when I think about what God has forgiven me for, it gets a little easier.