I’ve realized that Christianity can be dangerous for me in its theoretical-ness. (theoreticality?) There’s just this separation between what I say and what I actually do that is all too easy to leave alone. I understand the theology behind purity, forgiveness and love, but when it gets down to the practical working out of those characteristics I struggle.
Well.. struggle is actually a generous word.
Recently the topic of forgiveness has been at the forefront of my mind, I’ve blogged about it a lot, had some deep conversations and there have been situations where I have been called upon to forgive people who have hurt me.
I am not good at this.
Most of the weird relationships in my life are because of misunderstandings that gradually grew into being hurt or annoyed every time the other person would talk.. or succeed in life.. or just.. breathe sometimes. It is petty and immature and absolutely on the top 5 list of things I’m not proud of about myself.
When I feel like someone doesn’t like me I automatically don’t like them.
If a person is overly pushy, snobby or uses their authority in a way that seems prideful.. I don’t like them.
If I feel like someone is always competing against me to be better than me at something.. ” “
When someone does something selfish and won’t make it right.. yeah.
So you see, it doesn’t take much. And honestly, there are people that I think are great and want to be friends with but because I always feel like there is a closet competition going on, it is very hard to want to be around them.
Knowing my unpleasant tendencies, I devised a plan for how to practically practice forgiveness to this group of people who have the bad luck to be on my list. First, I had to come to a few realizations: I don’t want disliking [insert name] to define my life and Jesus demands that I forgive.
My first solution was hide their updates from my Facebook wall. Out of sight, out of mind. Then I conceded the point that this wasn’t actually forgiving them.
The second solution is much better and has actually already yielded some success! I created a Facebook friends list and named it “Love your enemies.” It sits there on the side of my newsfeed and when I see an update I’ll click with the set intent to pray for the individual and actually care about what God is doing in their lives. Maybe it works because I’m not seeing them pop up with the rest of the feed, but I think it is because I’ve mentally checked my sinful nature and decided that I will respond with love.
Obviously I haven’t healed our actual relationships, obviously this is not the only step that I will have to take to make forgiving others an automatic response in my heart, but it is a step and it has helped me to develop a sincere desire to love those who have offended me. And really, that is a huge first step for a sin-a-holic like me.