Thursday, December 16, 2010
Mercy amidst the Parasite
And a day is over as a new day begins. I'm home sick today from work. Hubby and I have some stomach parasite. Maybe I'm taking the metaphor a little too literally, but I feel a parasite of hate is in me, concerning my father. Surely, God has used the biggest example He could find to test me on forgiveness. There are people in my life who I ought to forgive:
the ex-wife for her damaging ways
the Catholic former friend who judged me and my husband and acted very un-Christian-like
my step-father for marrying another woman after my mother died and behind my back, at that
and then my father.
God, couldn't You have started with someone easier? This is a lifetime of forgiving I have to do. These wounds go way back.
And yet...I see the image of Christ on the cross, nails in His palms. That wound had gone way back, in the sense that He knew about it from the very beginning. And He forgave.
"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.'"
I wrote an email to my father directly after our phone call last night. I prayed on what to write and I think I did a fair job at doing so. I respected him and told him I was not a know-it-all. He had called me all these names and if he polled my family and friends here where I live (he lives a state away), he would know that they do not think me selfish, an idiot, etc. I told him I would pray for Grace to enter our hearts and for us to think twice about what we said to each other.
I have no control over how he takes this email. It is the first time I have said I will pray for us. He might think that silly, as he does not have a relationship with God. He might not understand.
The soldiers and violent onlookers at Jesus on the cross didn't have a relationship with God. They didn't understand. He looked down upon them and forgave them. He gave them mercy.
My father is not in my immediate life. And, yes, that is sad. After my mother died in 2006, we grew closer for a while, but then our bitter words and defenses went back up and soon every phone call was fraught with intimidation tactics from him and victim tendencies from me. If I were to truly look at my life as I live it, I see:
my adoring, exceptional husband
my three beautiful step-children
my blessing of a job which, as it turns out, is a very Christian job and that I love
my cozy cat
and my deep friendships with various women and mentors in my life
I do not have to exile my father from my life, but I must remember that he does not see what I see, does not hear what I hear, does not live what I live. And the same goes for me. I am not smack-dab in the middle of his life.
It's sad, if you think about it. I wanted my "daddy" to be more loving, more accepting, prouder. But God gave me this man as a father for a reason. And now I must realize our limitations and forgive him. For he does not know what he does.
Oh, Lord, I want to fight that. Of course he knows what he does!
Be still, I hear. Take care of that parasite in your tummy. Learn Grace and Forgiveness at your own pace, but do learn it.
"Bear with each other and forgive any grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."