After somewhat of a short minute of sleep, I sludged my way off the bottom end of the bed and assumed the usual position for my morning prayers. Normally, I flow with a routine mantra: gratitude, scripture memorization and then praise. But, because I was so exhausted from staying up past midnight working on my hair, the only thing I could muster up was a, “Thank you Lord” and a “Please God, help me get through this day.” I think it was shortest prayer I’d ever prayed. My mind was on a heaping cup of hot decaf from McDonald’s. So, forgetting about getting all gussied up, I hurried and through on some shorts and a raggedy t-shirt, grabbed the keys, and with a strange look from my husband lifting his head up from the bed, I blurted out, “I gotta go get me some coffee. I’m about to fall down I’m so tired. I’ll get the kids ready when I get back.”
I know it’s highly disapproved of, but behind the wheel with the music blaring is where I do some of my thinking. I don’t take my mind far from the road, but there’s something about motion and music that relaxes me and allows me to become vulnerable with myself. Ponder that. My choice of meditation during the drive was some CCM via one of the local FM stations The Joy FM. As I pulled into the McDonald’s drive-through, of course a song came on that brought back a memory, that took me back to a place in my past, and most importantly, that I thought I’d let go of. I replayed a memory of a situation and I found myself acting out the emotion within myself. I saw myself handling the situation a bit different from what I did when it first happened. I was kicking this person’s behind in my mind and literally flipping out on them and they had no idea. Then I remembered I was listening christian music and got a hold of myself. Politely, I checked back into reality, reminded myself that I’d forgiven the person long ago, took a sip from my coffee and enjoyed the rest of the ride home.
I returned home and found my husband up with the boys and moving along with the morning. Immediately, I headed into kitchen to get breakfast going. Scrambled eggs and toast was what my boys requested of their maternal waitress. Then it happened again. You know, I find it amazing how of all the memories we could allow ourselves to rehearse, we rehearse those that hurt the most. And it’s not that you haven’t forgiven the person. I think it’s because deep inside you wish you could have hurt the person as bad as they hurt you before you forgave them. Well, at least that’s the honest case for me. There I was standing there scrambling eggs, and I’m thinking about how a girl at my dentist’s office prejudged me and made fun of me ten years ago. I’m one of those people who can be very stealth in their emotions when faced with a hurtful situation. I have the ability to set my face like flint and speak so gently in the face of the person who’s causing me hurt, that they’d never know they hurt me unless I told them they did. I guess you can call it a defense mechanism.
Anyway, I was dealing with a lot in my life at the time; spiritual, emotional and health wise. I don’t know why I allowed what this girl said and did get to me but I did. She didn’t know she hurt my feelings but when I left the office that day I cried all the way home. I called back and tried to schedule my next appointment when she wasn’t working, but unfortunately, I couldn’t. I was forced to deal with her on several visits. So, I made it my business to forgive her and try to find some common ground between us. A few weeks after that decision, she walked up to me at a part-time job I was working at in the mall and told me how she’d found out a few weeks prior that we attended the same church. She went on the tell me that she’d watched me worship a few Sundays and was sort of in wonder of how close my relationship was to God. While she’s telling me this, she’s articulating in a very humble tone as well as body posture. In other words, she came unarmed. And because I’d made a choice to get over what she did, I answered back in the same fashion. However, I was still replaying the hurting moment in mind and saying to myself while she was speaking, “See, you thought it was cool to treat me the way you did and now you see I’m a worshipper just like you.” I was praying that she didn’t suggest we get together because that definitely wasn’t about to happen. No new friends was my meditation at that moment. Then, I could hear my baby son running into the kitchen, so I snapped out of it and finished up with breakfast. It was time to hurry it up and get to church.
On our way there, I rested back into my seat, took in some worship music and tried to take my mind off of the two emotional meltdowns I’d had just prior to. We pulled up to church, and because we’d gotten there a little late, we went straight in the sanctuary and caught the choir going into their first song of the morning, My Relationship with You. The follow-up to that song was nothing short of a segway into the message the Lord had given the pastor specifically for me; Forgetting and Letting Go. Isn’t it amazing how before we even open our eyes, God already has a plan laid out to meet our needs. I’ve been walking the christian walk for a long time and I’ve survived under the understanding that forgiveness is what we’re required to do because God forgives us. Forgetting is for God because He’s the only one capable of throwing our wrongs into the sea of forgetfulness. I’m sure you’ve heard the phase ‘forgive but never forget’. It’s a set up to block your blessings.
The pastor began his sermon by defining two very important names in the bible; Manasseh (to forget) and Ephraim (fruitful). He broke the sermon down by first educating on the order of the two, Manasseh before Ephraim; to forget and to become fruitful. He further relayed, in a more layman sense, that in order to get to the fruitful blessings God has stored up for you, you MUST forget the hurts of the past. See, it’s easy to forgive by removing yourself from the presence of the person or situation that’s hurt you. The issue is forgetting the hurt. The bible say’s that Joseph named his first-born Manasseh because God had him forget all his trouble and all his father’s household. If you haven’t read the story of Joseph, he was his father’s favorite son, which caused him to be hated by his brothers. Out of jealousy, they sold Joseph into slavery and lied and told his father he had been killed by a wild beast. After years of prison and being given favor by God in the eyes of Potiphar, there was a famine in the land that forced Joseph to come face to face with his brothers. Long story shortened, instead of repaying them evil for evil, he forgave them, forgot the ‘hurts’ and they lived happily ever after.
Forgetting doesn’t mean the memory of what was done to you is no more. It simply means, the hurt that was caused by what was done to you know longer controls you. When you think of the person or situation that broke you, there’s no hurt attached. You can actually wish the best for the person in spite of.
Needless to say, after an altar call, there was not a dry eye or broken heart left in the house. I took my hurts, laid them down, cried and walked away free.
Forgive and DEFINITELY forget.