O Lord make me an instrument of your peace…
In this strange time where we have spent many hours and days at home with our families, I know a lot of us have struggled to find a new balance. Who is doing what and when? Who is working at the kitchen table, in the office, or not at all? Who is looking after the children, who is making dinner, who is washing the dishes?
With so much time spent together at home, there have been more than enough opportunities to step on each other’s toes, to get frustrated with unmet expectations, to wound each other, intentionally or not, with our words and actions. I resonated deeply with Brittany’s recent post about this – No Offence.
In January I wrote a post on the first prayer in the Peace Prayer of St. Francis, Where there is hatred let me sow love. These days the second prayer has been on my lips most of all, Where there is injury let me bring pardon.
My heart right now is desperate for grace, longing for patience. Where I am not as quick to jump to judgments, and more willing to assume the best of others rather than the worst. I’m a work in progress, but I know God is working in me, and that this spirit of forgiveness I desire for myself is also his heart for me.
I know his heart for all of us is what Paul urges in Ephesians 4:23 – “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:23
I saw a beautiful portrayal of this recently while watching Bear Grylls’ new show, The World’s Toughest Race. It has teams racing non-stop over the oceans, rivers, mountains and jungles of Fiji. An American team was in the lead for the longest time, until one of them was overcome by heatstroke. They were forced to slow down and the other teams raced ahead of them, pushing them further and further behind. But his teammates didn’t waste a second before they rallied around him, giving him their precious supply of water, changing his socks, literally pulling him along by rope (and he’s not a small man!). Instead of reacting in anger and blame, they focused on restoring his health. His wellness became their main priority.
What would my marriage and friendships look like if I approached them with this kind of spirit? It’s not always as evident as a case of heat stroke why someone we love is acting a certain way, but our heart for them can still be as compassionate. What if instead of choosing bitterness or resentment, I became a supporter, lifting the other up in times of need? One who extends pardon freely and generously, and whose main goal is to see the other at their best.
What better way to live as children of light than to love one another in a way that only makes sense because Christ is making his home in our hearts?
I’ll end with the funny but wise words by Anne Lamott, “Earth is forgiveness school. And you might as well start at the dinner table, that way you can do this work in comfortable pants.”