Dawn Breaks and I'm holding her warmth against my chest. We've done our mornings like this for awhile now and its a routine of sorts...
I nurse I diet coke (I know... I know...) while we watch the news... catch up on the blogs... and give Him thanks for mercy that is new every morning. And I need the newness this morning... My heart aches for the newness.
I need the newness because I'm grappling with the part where we love our enemies and bless those who harm us. And we've wrestled Him and I... and there's a part of my living room floor that's worn from the pacing and the praying and the asking and the pleading... And I'm wrestling with the part where forgiveness is not a magic wand that takes the hurt away... I'm having a really hard time with the part where I look the pain in the eye and say "God is bigger than this."
And in my hurt, human flesh I want the person to pay. I want them to know only half of the pain we've known. I want vengeance and I want to get even and I want them to know the sting of the words and the hurt of the glances. I want their heart to hurt like mine hurts... shredded from the years of the words... so many hurtful words... And the tongue really is a flaming arrow and it really can bring life or death... and maybe if they only knew the destruction it's caused they'd choose life. But I know that vengeance isn't mine to have... and I don't get to be the one to throw stones because what would that make me?
And the whore who washed His feet with her tears knew something I need to be reminded of... that those who have been forgiven much have a capacity to love much. And I pray for that capacity and the enlarging of my heart. And I want that for them... to know much forgiveness and maybe... maybe someday they will know much love. Because as big as this is... as impossible as it feels... I've known and I've watched as He does the impossible...
He did it in me.
And this is the hard part of the gospel... the part we love to talk about... the part that sounds pretty on the paper but is ugly when you face it. The part where we love the enemy and bless the one who has brought us much harm. The part where we choose to speak no evil... and oh Jesus how I've failed at that... The part that comes after the choice to forgive is the hardest part.
The choosing it over and over each morning... The offering of mercy over and over... and He's so good at that and I'm wrestling with the giver of mercy because it would be so much easier to throw the stone... write the angry letter... spew the hurtful words. And I want to go over every time and re live every situation and lick my wounds and we wrestle as I pace the floor and I'm begging for it to just stop... and I know the promises are true... how He will bring us out... carry us... sustain us... even in this. I know they are true... the promises... but right now they don't feel true and I'm weary and can't I just throw a stone?
And I want in my heart of hearts to be like Him... And His mercy is new every morning which means mine must be... And I feel like I'm working towards a graduate degree in forgiveness only I'm in the second semester and the road ahead feels long.
And the sun is up and she is sleeping and the wrestling is coming to an end... "God don't let me become bitter... I don't want to be bitter... I don't want a heart that's bitter."
And I know what that means... bitterness is fought only with the offering of mercy. And forgiveness doesn't mean enabling it simply means we release the other person from having to make things right. It means I don't have to wait for the change or the apology to offer the mercy. And it isn't about glossing over something. It's about releasing something...someone.
Because in the end... there is nothing I could release someone from that's bigger than what I've already been released from. And oh Jesus that's hard to swallow.
And bitterness chokes the grace of God and invades the lives of others and I can't... I won't let my daughter know a mother that's bitter. And I want her to know how to love and forgive well and I know it isn't up to me but it starts with me. And if I can't learn to offer the grace than I will miss what I want most in my life.
To preach the gospel without words.
And it's a beautiful idea but a really difficult thing to live. And the wrestling begins to end...
Because the mercy is new and I hold her and I thank Him for the newness and I need the newness because without it my heart would be as cold as stone.
A heart of stone... the throwing of a stone... I realize now how the two go together.
And if I don't want the first to be true than I cannot give in to the second.
and you could have thrown the stone but you didn't... and you could have left us here to face what we deserve but you didn't... and oh Jesus I'm grateful.
And as the newness comes... with it comes the hope that I'll speak life instead of death... offer mercy instead of a stone... love like I know what I've been forgiven of.