Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. Proverbs 19:11 MSG
I guess I’m not a smart person. All too often, I claim to have forgiven, but I hang on to those memories of how someone wronged me. There’s a little Rolodex in my brain where I keep a list of offenses against me.
Like the time my mother-in-law ‘trimmed’ our daughter’s hair (resulting in an awful bowl-cut). Or the times the principal I worked for would ‘discipline’ the unruly students by giving them a candy bar or soda when they got sent to his office. Or when a co-worker used the f-word in anger during a conversation with me.
I remember all too well how irritated my sister-in-law made me when she wouldn’t let me talk to my husband because he was eating supper all those time I called to chat whilst he was recovering at their house, or that she opened his mail.
The list of people I really don’t want to spend any time around isn’t that long, but their offenses take up more than one card. Each card serves as ammunition to put that person down—sometimes just in my head, sometimes in conversation with other people, and sometimes as fuel to prove to other people how I’ve been wronged.
Therein lies the problem. My unwillingness to toss the card and forget the offense keeps it alive and well and tempting to my tongue so that in moments of stress or anger things slip out that should remain unsaid.Clinging to the cards of offenses ties them to my tongue and allows me to treat others with disrespect. Click To Tweet
I finally get it. The more I cling to and examine my unkind feelings over times I’ve been wronged, the more likely my tongue will blurt out hurtful things. My attitude towards a person will sour and fester and feed off my Rolodex cards and spill out in simple things like my tone of voice and the way I roll my eyes when my mother-in-law speaks.
I didn’t start out tonight wanting to confess that I’ve acted like a jerk (a mostly polite, but very distant jerk) towards my mother-in-law for 27 years, but writing often helps me clarify my thoughts and the Holy Spirit constrains me (compels me) to acknowledge my sins.
It’s time to light a fire with my Rolodex and just forget. Maybe I need to replace it with a list of ways people bless me (yes, even my mother-in-law—she raised a wonderful son, and I appreciate him every day).
Pray for me, would you?
What about you? Do you struggle to forget and end up sinning because of it?