Forgiveness… Does the human soul have any more basic need?
One who has never stood in need of forgiveness is indeed the lucky one. He or she is perhaps the nonexistent one.
The single act of forgiveness frees the nourishing waters of the rivers of life to flow over all that we are or ever hope to be. Unforgiveness is a dam that’s built of a selfishness that only holds back those waters.
When we prevent that soothing, cleansing stream of water from flowing toward the one who thirsts, eventually, we, too, come to know the same thirst.
It is a lonely, sad thirst. It is needless. The command is simple: forgive and be forgiven.
A young friend of mine recently informed me that there is a new generation between mine and his, a generation that has a divorce rate of 75 percent.
“No way!” I exclaimed.
“Yes,” the 25-year-old maintained, “three out of four members of the generation between me and you are not staying marrying.”
I argued, “Those statistics probably have evolved because of all the folks who have been married two, three and four or more times. I have to believe that the majority of individuals who marry stay married ‘until death do us part.”
“I’m just telling you what I read,” he said. “But it’s got me to thinking…, several of my friends have already been divorced at least once and some twice.”
“At 24, 25, 27..., yes.”
Oh, how I hope his figures are wrong!
Forgiveness... Can we not forgive one another for failing to be perfect? Or is the cause of the failing marriages around our land more subtle that hurt feelings and unforgiveness?
Just this week, another young man was telling me how he met up with a fellow from a large African country the other day. The visitor was filled with questions about this great land of ours.
“What do you think of this man - this president - who rules your land?” he asked my friend.
The response was less than flattering to our president.
Already, he knew he did not want to go back to his native country. “That’s what I like about America,” he said. “In my country we would be jailed for speaking negatively about our leader, for even having this discussion.”
And so the conversation evolved into an appreciation of all that is America. They discussed its strengths, its beauty, its people, its land, its choices...
There’s that word again. Choices. I am reminded of a few lines from an old song (can’t recall title or artist – email me if you know): “Old Friend, how did it happen? How did your eyes become dazzled by the world instead of lit up by His love? Choices, too many voices... Was there one too many battles so you gave up on the fight?”
The young African asked my friend what line of work he was in. After listening to the answer, he responded, “That, too, is why I like America. You are doing what you like. You have such great choices.”
Yes, many of us are doing what we like. Those who are not blessed to be doing what they like on the job certainly have the option to do what they like in other areas of their lives. Indeed, there are choices!
Still, freedom can be a dangerous thing, don’t you think? There is need for balance. Responsibility must walk hand in hand with freedom, or one day freedom will be no more.
America has always been, and will always be, only as strong as its weakest link. Strong, united families make for a strong nation.
Oh, how I hope my young friend was wrong about his 75 percent statistic. I forgot to ask him where he read such figures.
As I sit before my computer rambling as I am today, I can only hope and pray that our young people will make wise choices. I want them to have the freedom to be all that they are and to become all that they can become. I want them to be able to create stable, happy homes and families. I want so much for so many! How I pray that all the choices America offers will not rob our young people of their potential.