on forgiveness

 

Lyme is a crappy disease. There's no getting around that.

There are a lot of opportunities to be angry. There are a lot of reasons for me to be bitter. Like, a lot of reasons.

Am I holding grudges? Honestly, I did for a long time. I had doctors wink and told me to see a psychiatrist, doctors that refused to give me tests even when I begged for them, nurses that ripped IVs out of my arms and sent me on my way, insurance companies that refuse to believe I'm sick, and lawmakers that are paid off to keep Lyme research unfunded. I was angry and confused why so many people designed to help heal could be so harsh.

Do I think a lot of these people mean harm? Some, no. A lot just think they're doing their jobs to the best of their abilities and are too prideful to research. And some others, honestly, yes. They know the implications of their decisions, but financial gain wins over this. Sadly, a lot of this comes at the expense of millions of human lives. So people are angry -- and rightfully so.

But Jesus calls me to love and pray for my enemies. It's one thing when it involves gossiping or someone being annoying, but this time, it's different. The stakes are higher. It's a matter of life and death, and it affects me directly.

But in this -- this is exactly when Jesus called and still calls us to love, both in ancient and modern times. In war and peace, in sickness and in health. And so, often begrudgingly, I pray for them.

And something weird happens.

When I pray for them, my heart shifts. Shifts from anger, bitterness, and resentment - to benevolence and empathy...and I feel sad for them. Because they are fellow humans that have it all so, so wrong. My friend sent me this song, and I wept when I first heard it because it struck a chord.  (See what I did there? I'll walk myself out.)

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LN9fryv77o[/embed]

When I look into the face of my enemy, I see my brother...Forgiveness is the garment of our courage. 

They, too, are looking for what we're all looking for: love. acceptance. belonging. recognition. But all in just the very wrong places.

However, this won't stop me from holding them accountable. God also has a heart for justice, and I believe we've been gifted with a unique opportunity to see redemption and healing in this area. But when speaking truth in love our message will be all the more effective.

Let me be clear: this heart change is not a result of me being a great and wonderful person. It's because of the opposite, actually. As cliche as it might sound, it's honestly because I've been forgiven. A LOT. Christ has forgiven me for the hundreds of harmful things I've done to others...and others extend grace to me on a daily basis.

I can't love others when I am empty. But because others have loved me, my heart overflows; therefore, I'm allowed to extend grace to others.

Grace is one of the few real currencies we have in a dark and broken world. We have a unique opportunity to extend grace that's been given to us. And when we do, we win. The light wins. The Holy Spirit, alive in us, redeeming the most broken things in this world. I don't want to complain about the dark consistently and not light my own candle.

So here it is. My own little candle in the wind.

shine on,

ramblingsElise Graham