The F word

We’ve all heard the expression fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!  Most of us try and live our life to that standard.  We’ve got this idea that if someone does something to hurt us physically, emotionally, verbally, whatever, we should out of the kindness of our hearts give them the benefit of the doubt and extend some forgiveness but just once.  If the screw up again then too bad for them because we’ve already forgiven them once right?  Hate to burst your bubble kids {and my own} but WRONG!

Let’s get real honest with ourselves for a second.  Have you ever sinned?  Have you ever sinned more than once?  Twice?  More times than you can possibly count?  The answer is YES, YES, YES, and YES!  Often we go with our tails between our legs crying out to the Lord begging for forgiveness but other times, we just take his mercy and forgiveness for granted.  We just expect him to forgive us because we know he does.  We just know he extends grace and mercy repeatedly even when we don’t deserve it.  Why do we know that?  Because the word tells us he does!  But, in classic human nature, we take the word and we twist it to meet our needs.  We pick the parts we find beneficial to us out and use those but sort of paraphrase the rest.  We find the “loopholes” if you will.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I often joke saying I have a “black thumb”.  Seriously, I could kill a cactus and pretty sure I have.  Horticulturist I am not but last year, I thought I would try my hand at an herb garden.  Nothing makes me happier than cooking with fresh herbs and it never fails I’m out of basil or rosemary in the middle of making a fabulous from scratch pasta sauce.  So, I moseyed on down to my friendly local Home Depot and snagged some potted herbs and a large window planter.  I didn’t do much research on the subject because the little biodegradable pots were just to be planted directly into the soil so I figured it was fool proof.  I planted Rosemary, Basil, Cilantro, and Sweet Mint.  I watered and cared for them for several months and they seemed to be thriving.  They made delicious additions to soups, pastas, chicken, and even mojitos!  Nom…nom…nom… mouth watering just thinking of it!  After several months, I noticed the mint seemed to be thriving a little too well if ya know what I mean!   It’s super easy to grow and maintain so it easily takes over some of the weaker herbs.  After several more months,  it was becoming difficult to get to my cilantro.  The leaves of the mint had become intertwined with the leaves of the cilantro and it just became a lot of work to try and keep the leaves apart.  Eventually the cilantro died.  R.I.P Cilantro-you were my favorite herb child.  When I went to remove the cilantro plant, parts of the mint started to come up as well.  The mint roots were so strong that they intertwined with the roots of the cilantro plant and began to take over and defeat them!  What is the moral of this little gardening tale you probably are asking?  You may even be throwing your hands up yelling at your computer screen “get to the point already you dysfunctional domestic diva!!!”  The point my friends is when we don’t extend forgiveness to others, it plants a seed of bitterness that only grows and thrives inside of us.  It takes root and if we let it, this bitterness will thrive and take over our life and it can sometimes defeat the roots of kindness that dwell in the same place.  We need to remember that we are only human and we will ALWAYS fall short of the humans that we SHOULD be.  Some transgressions are easier to forgive than others but that doesn’t mean those transgressions are unforgivable.

All of that being said, there is a fine line between forgiveness and foolishness and I think we often confuse the two.  The act of forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to be foolish and constantly subject ourselves to hurt.  I’m not saying if your husband is repeatedly hitting you or betraying your trust that you should just say “oh no problem honey, I forgive you again” and stick around for more.  Get yourself OUT of that toxic situation but don’t let the hurt become your crutch.  It could be your spouse, a friend, a co-worker, an ex, a sibling or other family member, a stranger on the streets even!  You say “I forgive you” and truly mean it, then move on with your merry little life!  Here’s the kicker.  People don’t always ask for forgiveness.  They may not think they’ve even done anything wrong at all and it isn’t our job to pass judgement on their sins but it IS our job to forgive them.  We must show them the exact kindness, grace, mercy, and forgiveness that our heavenly father repeatedly extends to us.  If we don’t, that original hurt, that original sin committed against us by someone else can quickly morph into our own sin and become bitterness!  Don’t be bitter kids.  Forgive, move on, and please be kind to one another.  Forgive but please don’t be foolish especially when it comes to the safety and security of yourself or your children!  Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye and allow hurtful behavior repeatedly.  There are consequences for everyone’s actions whether that be on earth or on judgement day.  The good news is, we aren’t responsible for that big ole judgement burden, just the forgiveness part.



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