It was an annual event where a king and queen were crowned, teachers got soaked in the dunk-‘em booth, cheap game prizes were won in the gym, and the cake walk was celebrated in the cafeteria.
Much fun was had by all.
I wore a purple hot pants outfit.
With a purple headband.
And purple tights.
The outfit was…purple.
Whatever was I thinking.
Back then, I felt like royalty.
The look made me feel beautiful…even a little trim.
Now, it’s one of those memories that make me smile…
And wonder if other students questioned my choice of fashion at that time.
There are some memories that just cause us to shake our heads and remember those times as typical growing up stories.
Not a big deal…Fun to reminisce about at school reunions.
Then there are memories of words or actions that still bring a cutting pain to our hearts.
Memories that are not so fond.
Memories that shouldn’t show up in our story books.
Know what I mean?
It’s in those memories—those stories—that life got messy.
And nothing can ever change those stories.
So what do we do with those memories and that pain?
How do we move to a place where the pain isn’t so cutting and the emotion isn’t so raw…
Even after 5, 10, 25, or 50 years?
How do we keep them from binding our hearts and ruling our emotions today?
We choose to forgive.
Oh, such a tough thing to do sometimes.
Because we aren’t talking about purple hot pants memories anymore.
It would take a lot of words to discuss the why and how of forgiveness most thoroughly.
And this place of words doesn’t provide that.
But here’s what I’ve learned when memories from long ago (or yesterday) take me away from my happy place and move me to a place of anger and bitterness…
God forgives me.
Oh, the beauty of this. So undeserving…and such love. To be loved by a God who looks beyond my failures and my hurtful actions…Such a gift.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:11-12)
God requires me to forgive others.
I wish He didn’t require this. It seems too big. Too unfair. It seems that justice is lost and “the other person gets away with it” if I release the pain and forgive. And yet, God is clear. It is part of His desire in wanting us to live in relationship first with Himself, and then with each other.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
God will give me the strength to forgive.
Oh, God, give me this strength. Bring my heart to a place where I can “Yes” to you and your love-filled command. I cannot do this on my own.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Forgiveness isn’t forgetting.
Forgiveness is living the life God has called us to live.
Forgiveness is obedience to The One Who Was Hurt the Most.
If forgiving yourself or that person who pops into your head seems too big right now…
Then just consider the idea. Pray about it.
Ask God for direction. And strength.
In forgiveness, the story doesn’t change.
Your spirit does.