Monday, March 24, 2014
A Forgiveness Bouquet
While I read with a passion, there are some books that leave a deposit in my spirit that lingers and grows and changes me in some way.
I recently read a book by Michael Phillips that touched me deeply.
The story centres on a waif of a child, older than she looked who was 'different' in a way that made the villagers , adult and children alike , ridicule her and torment her with words and even daring to lay physical abuse upon her.
This child learned to be content with her own company and spent the hours of her childhood roaming the hills and fields surrounding her country home. In God's nature, she learned to know the heart of the God she loved and understood in the innocent ways of a child untarnished by worldly influence. She loved the sea, the sky and all of God's creatures.
When someone would hurt her with cruel words or actions, she gave no counter response, not even in word, but would run to her secret favourite places where she would stoop again and again until she had gathered a bouquet of wild flowers. Tying them together with a string she would slip unnoticed back into the village to the cottage where the one lived who had hurt her and would hang this bouquet above the door.
It was her "forgiveness bouquet".
The story threads through her life and the lives of those she touched and the lives of those whose character was changed because of her gentle, quiet wisdom and heart of forgiveness that could not be argued against.
If we all practised 'forgiveness bouquets' instead of retaliation, instead of carrying grudges or allowing our hearts to be filled with resentment and desire for retribution, would our world not be a radically different place ? The change beginning with our own hearts, our own homes, our own neighbourhoods , reaching out into our world.
Is that not the kind of hearts Jesus seeks ?
Our God IS a God who forgives .. over and over again ... and who among us does not need or desire His forgiveness? And yet we sometimes forget how important forgiveness is to God. He watches to see how easily and quickly we forgive those who hurt us.
Mar 11:25,26 "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Mat 6:14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
Luk 17:4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."
Does God not care if we are hurt ? Ohh.. yes.. but He does not want US to have to carry the burden of unforgiveness which is like a cancer that eats at us from the inside out and robs us of the joy and blessings that God desires to pour out upon us. And unforgiveness cannot remain hidden, it will also hurt those we live with and love.
God wants us to trust Him to make all rights right, not only in our own life and heart but also in the hearts and lives of those who are not yet His. How often undeserved/unexpected forgiveness is the key to a locked relational door.
We are approaching the Passover/Easter season. It is a time to reflect and think about what God did for us in sending Jesus to provide for us the ultimate forgiveness we could not obtain at any lesser price than what He paid for it - His life.
The forgiveness of God unlocked the door, tore the veil, that stood between us and intimacy in relationship with Him ! How precious, how powerful indeed is forgiveness !
The name of the book I read, and highly recommend, is From Across the Ancient Waters and the sequel The Treasure of the Celtic Triangle. by Michael Phillips