Forgivness, from Corrie ten Boom
As quoted by the Reverend Dr. Kendall Harmon
Corrie ten Boom told of not being able to forget a wrong that had been done to her. She had forgiven the person, but she kept rehashing the incident and so couldn't sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help in putting the problem to rest. "His help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor," Corrie wrote, "to whom I confessed my failure after two sleepless weeks." "Up in the church tower," he said, nodding out the window, "is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there's a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we've been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn't be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They're just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down." "And so it proved to be. There were a few more midnight reverberations, a couple of dings when the subject came up in my conversations, but the force -- which was my willingness in the matter -- had gone out of them. They came less and less often and at the last stopped altogether: we can trust God not only above our emotions, but also above our thoughts."
Today I got to have lunch with a dear friend of mine. During our time together we had a good conversation about forgiveness. I had not yet read the passage above, but it reflects much of what we said. When someone hurts me, I mean REALLY hurts me, forgiveness doesn’t come easy. And when I do forgive, my feelings can take a long time to follow. The idea of the tolling bell resonates with my own experience. As I press into Lent, I will pray that the tolling of some of my bells will slow down and, by grace, even come to a stop.