Carmen and Peter

One of our last weekends in Australia (April 14/15, 2012) we spent with a sweet group of people from Box Forest Wesleyan church in Hadfield, VIC. While there we met Carmen and Peter, two of the most joyful and precious kin you could meet. They were both in their early 60’s with a  noticeable spring in their step.  Honest folks with constant encouragement and thanksgiving flowing from their lips.  They we’re not pretentious or pious, rather they were humble and sincere. Peter, a shorter stocky bloke, shared with enthusiasm about his rockabilly days and guitar playing. He told the story of his “coming to Jesus” and how he now has a peace and joy in his life.

Carmen, who had listened to our message of reconciliation approached me the following day and gave me an envelope full of notes she had taken through her journey of reconciliation. There were some in her hand writing and others on printed papers. I leafed through them on the plane ride home and found myself admiring her simple faith. This precious woman had shared her deepest mantra’s with me. Her foundational values found in these writings are layman and sincere.

These were some of her statements on forgiveness: (I image them up on her fridge or hanging on her bathroom mirror as reminders)

~Are you refusing to forgive your child. Forgive them, or you will never be free to enjoy the relationship God wants you to have with them.

~Are you struggling with a parent who abandoned, betrayed or abused you? Forgive them and release them. Otherwise, you’ll spend all your emotional energy keeping them in the prison of your resentment.

~You’re tied to the past through the umbilical cord of unforgiveness. When you forgive you cut that cord. When you refuse to, you remain tied to a memory that can hurt you for the rest of your life.

~Learn how to receive forgiveness from God and also from those you have hurt. Then offer that same forgiveness to those who have hurt you. When you can do that, your heart will be tender, your spirit light, your mind free, your vision clear and your speech filled with kindness. What a way to live.

This last one is my favorite, for it is only when we look in the mirror and understand our own impact on others, our own pride, that we can really understand the grace offered through forgiveness. Laying down our fear, self-protection and pride equals freedom and real community. The taste of forgiveness is honey to the lips and water to the soul.