Forgiveness and Ten Pounds of Flour
One of my favorite things about my son, Christian is that he wears his day on his face. If he’s had a good day it’s splashed all over with reckless sunny abandon. If he has had a bad day it hovers over his head like an impending monsoon. I never have to wonder, the weather is announced at twenty paces.
I was listening to the radio in carpool one day when I saw the storm approach. He rumbled towards the car, opened the door, tossed his backpack in as if he were releasing a grenade and sat down. I knew better than to say a word. There was only one thing to do. I drove straight to his favorite ice cream store. We ordered and sat in silence for a few moments-one doesn’t want to rush the weather:)
“I am done with John Frank!” he said. (name changed to protect the heart of the mother)
“Really,” I said. “I thought he was one of your best friends.”
“He was, but I’m done with him now. Done! He is off my prayer list.”
“Sorry to hear that,” I said. “Best friends are hard to come by. What happened?”
So he told me the whole sordid tale of how John knocked his books off his desk and they went flying everywhere and the teacher got mad and Christian said it was John and John said he wasn’t so he got in trouble twice. He was punished once for knocking his books over and the second time for tattling on a classmate.
“It’s not fair mom!”
“I hear you,” I said. “Fair doesn’t live here anymore.”
I watched Christian that evening as he was bent under the inequity of life. It was crushing him. Before bedtime I said to him, lets go for a walk. I asked him to carry the ten pound bag of flour I had bought that day. I told him I would explain why we needed it when we got to where we were going.
After a while he asked if he could put it down but I told him we had a little farther to go. We walked and walked ’till finally he flopped down on the path and said, “Mom, this thing is too heavy!”
Well, I’m sure you get the point that we talked about that night.
“Here is the deal Christian. When you don’t forgive it’s as if you carry this weight around with you everywhere you go. John’s probably been asleep for half an hour but here we are, worn out from the trip. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that the other person was right or even that they are sorry, it just gives you a place to take the burden. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us to live in a world that’s not fair.”
This is the last day of 2009, the last night in a decade, what are you still dragging around with you? You could wake up tomorrow flour-free!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30