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Lent Photo-A-Day (February 10 – March 27, 2016)

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Day 29 — Forgiveness

dancing-in-the-rain-susan-elise-shiebler

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When our previous pastor did weddings, she always inserted her special “line” somewhere in the service. She said: “Love each other for who you are; forgive each other for who you are not.” I loved that line. For me it took forgiveness out of the realm of just wrongs being done and put it into the context of how we’re all flawed. When I think of forgiveness, that distinction makes a huge difference for me.

It helped me in several ways. I learned that I needed to forgive myself first for not being perfect. Prior to 2003 my personal journals look more like a list of offenses than a reflection of who I actually am. For a person with a not so healthy self-image, a little bit of “religion” can be a very harmful thing! I can’t even begin to articulate what I felt when I came to grips with what Pastor Diane meant by that line. It was as if I’d finally loosened a tourniquet that had been tied around my heart and allowed a fresh flow of blood to circulate through me! It made me feel free, and so much more compassionate.

It also helped me realize that no one else is perfect either. Acknowledging that was like dropping a very heavy burden I’d carried for a long time. And for me that meant forgiveness is always right there at hand. I don’t always get it right. There are two people in my life that I struggle to forgive, but forgiveness is usually just a given for me.

In the end, when Pastor Diane’s comments finally set down roots in my heart, I felt light as a feather, as if I’d just crawled out of a deep, dark hole. So in the picture above, while the rain may represent many behaviors, offenses, whatever, that hinder relationships, I’ve got my umbrella of forgiveness and am dancing in the rain. It’s the best way I can show others love, but also the best way I can love myself as well.

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Forgiveness is the final form of love.
“`Reinhold Niebuhr

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Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness,
but because you deserve peace.
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Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Picture Credit: fineartamerica.com

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