Dealing with conflict can be as simple as thinking through how to pay for the trouble conflict brings. We might think, “Why should I need to pay? I did nothing to create this mess I’m in.” Whether that’s true or not is irrelevant — this situation of conflict is what it is, and there’s no skirting around it as if we could pretend it wasn’t there. It’s there, and it’s up to us to sort it out. If we won’t nobody else will do it for us.
Here are three ways we can journey toward forgiveness as a way of moving forward past bitterness and resentment; three ways of ‘paying’ for our journey to a better place:
1. Cheque – using our cheque account is a daily way to ensure we spend the money we have to spend on something we need. Using the cheque method acknowledges there’s a daily duty along the journey of forgiveness — to pray daily, to surrender hurt to God, to think good thoughts of the party we’re forgiving. They, like us, are a child of God, made in His image; loved and treasured by God as much as we are.
2. Savings – the next best account to use is our savings account. Perhaps we haven’t got much money in our cheque account. In other words, we’re not committed to being frugal enough to commit to forgiving on a daily basis. We need to draw on our savings to pay for this journey. When we don’t engage with the journey of forgiveness we find we dip into our savings, and we may end up feeling further depleted. We might get to forgiveness, but it costs us a lot — our precious savings.
3. Credit – this is the worst account to draw from, because we ultimately need to pay the money back — money we don’t have. We take the journey, but the journey’s not actually been paid for yet. Our creditors give us the money in advance, because they believe in our integrity to pay back the money advanced to us. If we use our credit or overdraft account to pay for the journey of forgiveness, we may find we take such an indirect route that we can’t possibly repay what we’ve spent, and we may feel constantly depleted, which affects our hope. We may lose faith in forgiveness and give up along the journey, still needing to repay so much, and worst of all, we remain entrenched in bitterness and resentment. Worse still, using credit might mean we’re investing in resentment more than forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a journey along a miry estuary toward a river teeming with life. How we make that journey, our success along the way, depends on how we pay.
Cheque, savings or credit — how will we pay for the journey from bitterness to healing?
The only viable way forgiveness occurs is via a daily journey of prayer and surrender. Daily we keep the costs of forgiveness down. Daily we experience the rewards of letting go. Paying for the journey of forgiveness on a daily basis takes the responsibility on we can take. And we do need to take it.
Forgiveness costs us our pride. We learn to let go of that which we shouldn’t hold onto in the first place.
Forgiveness is about our health, just as it’s about their honour. And in that way it’s about our honour, and their health.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.