Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading the book “God Never Blinks” by Regina Brett. I haven’t been reading it front to back like you would a normal book. I’ve been flipping through and finding a little passage that relates to my day. Last night I found one that has summed up my life the past month or so.
The section was titled “When in Doubt, Just Take the Next Right Step.”
The analogy that was used was the game of freeze tag. Once you are tagged, you stop (or freeze) in place.
I can relate to being tagged in my life and I just stop in place. I don’t look around, I don’t move forward. And I definitely don’t move backwards. I’m just there – blindsided by a strong hand that has stopped me in place.
I stay in my own little world stuck in one spot wondering what my next step is going to be. Stay where I’m at and think of endless possibilities of how to become unfrozen? Try to break my icy mold by myself and continue on? Try to retrace my steps and find a way around finding myself stuck in a place I don’t want to be in?
Being human, we get so wrapped up into what has gone wrong, we freeze. We meditate on all the things that have happened, all the things we wish we could have done, or all of the things that were done.
Shane and I experienced this about a month ago. We were so blindsided by the actions of others that we froze in place. When you take a married couple and both of them freeze at different places on the field in different positions, it’s not good. You can’t communicate, you can’t console, and you can’t encourage forward movement. You stay in place, facing different directions trying to figure out what comes next.
Well, in our situation, the obvious “next step” for us was a prayer of forgiveness. We needed to forgive so that we could move forward. We wanted to forgive so we could move forward.
Forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation.
I struggled with this concept – and still kind of do. I have been raised thinking that if you forgive someone, their wrong doings are “erased” and you make the effort to restore what you had before you became frozen. That’s just how it was. That’s how it’s always been.
But, Shane showed me a new option: you can forgive without having reconciliation. Somethings just can’t be, won’t be, or (even in some situations) shouldn’t be resolved.
Kind of like that saying “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” You can love someone without approving of their every move, decisions, or choices.
We “practice what we preach”. We try to see everyone through the eyes of Christ and love everyone as we love ourselves, but there are times where this just doesn’t seem possible. But we are told in Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”
We cannot be imitators of God if we are walking around judging, ridiculing, wishing ill upon our neighbors, or not loving our neighbors.
When Shane sat me down and told me that there can be forgiveness and Christ-like love but not necessarily reconciliation, it caught me off guard. But here is where it begins to make sense. (Authors note: Feel free to correct me here if I am wrong.)
Forgiveness and Christ-like love can be one-sided. You can forgive someone without them knowing or returning the favor. Just the same, you can show love to someone without them wanting to receive it or returning it.
We, as Christians, can fulfill our duty as being imitators without the acknowledgement of the receiving end.
Up until the last few days, I was frozen in place. I thought that I had broken my mold and began my journey forward. I was wrong. I was just as frozen last week as I was a month ago. I hadn’t taken the next right step. I had prayed but I hadn’t put into action what I had prayed for – because I was stuck.
I want to move forward and ONLY forward. I will not be looking back, dwelling on the past.
If you have wronged me, my husband, or my kids, know that you are forgiven and you are loved.
Just as I have been forgiven, I have forgiven. I have forgiven, I have loved, but I cannot reconcile at this point in time.
But I am no longer frozen. I will not stand stationary waiting for the world around me to change. I need to be the change in the world.
I need to take that next right step.