The Art of Forgiving

The Art of Forgiving

The most creative power given to the human spirit is the power to heal the wounds of a past it cannot change. We do our forgiving alone inside our hearts and minds; what happens to the people we forgive depends on them. The first person to benefit from forgiving is the one who does it. Forgiving happens in three stages: we rediscover the humanity of the person who wronged us; we surrender our right to get even, and we wish that person well. Forgiving is a journey; the deeper the wound, the longer the journey. Forgiving does not require us to reunite with the person who broke our trust. We do not forgive because we are supposed to; we forgive when we are ready to be healed. Waiting for someone to repent before we forgive is to surrender our future to the person who wronged us. Forgiving is not a way to avoid pain but to heal the pain. Forgiving someone who breaks a trust does not mean that we give him his job back. Forgiving is the only way to be fair to ourselves. Forgivers are not doormats; to forgive a person is not a signal that we are willing to put up with what he does. Forgiving is essential; talking about it is optional. When we forgive, we

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Racing Down the River

Racing Down the River

Someone once said, “True freedom is not a question of doing as we like, but doing as we ought.” Clovis Chappell, a nineteenth-century minister, used to tell an interesting story about two paddleboats. The two boats, powered by coal, left Memphis about the same time, traveling down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. As they travelled side-by-side, sailors from one vessel made some critical remarks and jokes about the snail’s pace of the other boat. Heated words were exchanged between the men on the two boats. Challenges were made. So the race began. The competition was hot and heavy as the two boats roared through the Deep South. Eventually, one boat began falling behind. The problem: it didn’t have enough fuel. There had been plenty of coal for the trip, but not enough for a race. As the boat dropped back, an enterprising young sailor took some of the ship’s cargo and tossed it into the boat’s ovens. When his fellow sailors saw that the supplies burned as well as coal, they fuelled their boat with the material they had been assigned to transport. Guess what? They ended up winning the race. But they burned their cargo. How does this apply to our lives? The men on the winning boat did what they liked, which was winning the race. But

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Seeing is Believing

Seeing is Believing

“Home at last,” said city Squirrel. He had been in the open lands to the south. He had wanted to see where oranges came from. The new place was terrifying at first. He had always thought that being from the city made him tougher and smarter than country animals. He remembered telling the first mouse he met, “Where I come from you have to be on your toes. Never look anyone in the eye or act friendly or you’ll be done in.” The southern animals were so familiar with Squirrel. They touched too much – patted backs, hugged strangers. They pried into one’s affairs, forever asking how things were going and what you had for breakfast. Having been amid strangers, dodging thieves and con artists, Squirrel was wary of this “friendliness.” A possum came by with a loaf of bread as a gift. Squirrel nearly slammed the door in his face. “What do you want,” he demanded. “Are you trying to sell me something? Do you own a bakery? Is this one of those free samples to lure me in?” The possum laughed, “Man you sure are a jumpy one. You just need to learn to relax and trust folks. Ain’t nobody here out to get you. You think you so important that we all spend our days and nights

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You Make A Choice

You Make A Choice

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: “When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?” The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued, “I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.” Then he told the following story: “Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team but, as a father, I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. I

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Leave Your Hurts In The Sand

Leave Your Hurts In The Sand

A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey, they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE. They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE. The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?” The other friend replied “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.” Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone. They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then

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The Old Fisherman

The Old Fisherman

The Old Fisherman Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the clinic. One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. Why, he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old, I thought as I stared at the stooped, shrivelled body. But the appalling thing was his face–lopsided from swelling, red and raw. Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus ’til morning.” He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face…I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments…” For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.” I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready,

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