Friday, January 20, 2012

70 x 7= Forgiveness

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord how many times shallI forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times"~Matthew 18:21&22

Recently, I began working with an amazing life coach . As we discussed my childhood, adult relationships and some of the areas I struggle with it became clear that unforgiveness is a big obstacle for me. She gave me the assignment to  repeat "I choose to forgive you _________" 70 times for  the next 7 days. I wasn't entirely convinced that it would work but I'm sure willing to give it a try.

During the night, 5 or 6 inches of snow fell. It was light and fluffy and beautiful. Clinging to the branches of the trees, dusting every surface. A winter wonderland for sure. This morning I would have loved nothing more than to curl up under the covers, watch a good movie and stay warm and cozy! However, my husband is away for a few days and I knew I should go out and shovel the driveway. I didn't really WANT to but it needed to get done. I bundled up and set to work. It wasn't long before I started repeating "I choose to forgive you" to myself.

Push, puff, scrape, push "I choose to forgive you"

Huff, pause, push, push, lift "I choose to forgive you"

Slip, slide, push, breathe "I choose to forgive you"

Stop, look around, push, lift, toss, puff "I choose to forgive you"

Several times I slipped and nearly wiped out. Many times I paused, looked around and thought "I can't do this....its going to take forever!"

But I kept moving and going, huffing and puffing, pushing and lifting and throwing the snow to the side and repeating the phrase "I choose to forgive you" That's when it came to me....shoveling snow is alot like forgiveness.

I could certainly have driven over the snow this morning. It would have been the easy thing to do. In the long run however, it would have packed down the snow. A sunny day would have turned that packed snow into ice and created a slippery, dangerous, mess that would only need to be dealt with later. Inevitably, more snow would have fallen on top of the packed icy mess and created even MORE of a mess!

By dealing with the snow today, as soon as it happened I saved myself from extra, more difficult work. Yes it was an effort. It took preparation in the form of boots, mittens, a shovel etc. The right tools are critical. Flip flops and a measuring spoon certainly wouldn't work in this case.It took time, alot of time.   It took discipline. I needed to do the work and keep moving forward. There were times I slipped and stumbled and wanted to stop. If I had, I never would have finished.

Shoveling snow is hard work. The best thing for EVERYONE is to pick it up and move it out of the way. Forgivenesss is hard work too. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, I may not want to do the work. Yes, I will probably slip and fall. Reality though, is this.....if I don't move the mess of unforgiveness out of my heart, it will grow cold and hard and create a bigger mess I'll only need to deal with later.

It was  a very satisfying moment when I stood back, sweat beaded on my brow, one hand on my hip, the other on the shovel  and saw the progress I'd made. And so, I'll forge ahead, doing  the work, one shovel full, one step at a time, using the right tools and repeating to myself  "I choose to forgive you"

Dear God, I believe that you use real people and real situations to teach us. Thank you for the angel you have sent into my life and for the tools she's handing me to finally learn the gift of forgiveness. I'm not there yet but I can see the progress I'm making.  I can't wait for that moment when I stand back in awe and realize how far I've come. May I never forget that you have forgiven me as well. In Jesus' name~Amen


  1. Amazing that the topic is one I have so much trouble with lately. But your words were inspiring enough to encourage me to keep working on it. I remind myself that I am a work in progress..and God is with me always...

  2. This is excellent and so well put on the weight of unforgiveness.