I have grown up in a generally Christian home all of my life. No, I would not call it an overly strict Christian home, as the sounds of soca and reggae could have been heard echoing from the radio; especially during Carnival season. We were so far from perfect, but my mother ensured that we had Christian values ingrained into our foundation, and we generally could observe those around us and see the reflection of what basic good behavior should be in the majority of other family members. Yes, we may have tried to push the limits a bit, using our own definition of ‘good’ [as the oldest daughter – trust me I tried].
In addition to family, we also received additional footing as we learned the general bible stories and every day prayers, either picking them up at school, church or Sunday school…. mumbling them along until I could recite them with little to no effort on my own. That being said, I think it has been at least thirty-six years since I learned the Our Father prayer. However, it was not until recently that I realized how little I understood what I have been saying and how I may have actually been imprisoning myself with this prayer as my thoughts were in no way matching the words that had been coming of my own mouth for years. [Disclaimer if you are overly sensitive and cannot take humor to explain the realities of life, then I advise that you stop reading now. This blog represents my thoughts and I accept that they are not the same as other people. I also accept that I have a very eclectic and sometime bizarre way of seeing things, but I am very comfortable with my quirks and the way I see things; as I am sure you are thankful in the way you view your own lives…. Disclaimer over…. proceed at your own risk].
If you are a frequent reader, you would remember me mentioning that I recently took some time to make some life changes. At the end of one of the long days during this ‘transition’ period – when I tried to climb into bed, all ready to mumble off a quick ‘Our Father’ prayer and grab on to some good and needed sleep – my thought pattern changed forever and I received the shock of my life. As I mumbled off the words between sleep and wake I got hit with a new, life shifting understanding. [Note: many of you may have had this moment long before I have; some of you may have never even needed it; I may have been a bit slow.] But what the heck have I being saying to God all these years? And did I really mean it? What have I been doing to myself? I went into a state of alarm and was truly terrified that the words out of my own mouth had and would be leading me to my own destruction. I have always believed that words were powerful and that they could bend the universe. But why had I chosen to tell the universe to come at me like a wrecking ball night after night, year after year… was it madness… self-sabotage… or maybe I, just like many others, had been reciting words without fully grasping the meaning of the words.
In case you are unsure to what I am fretting about, take a look for yourself at the Our Father prayer. Don’t feel bad if you have to Google it to re-familiarize yourself with it. Please note that many bibles, societies, denominations etc. have adjusted the wording but the general point still stays the same. Feel free to use any version of the Bible you wish – I like to check out a few translations myself – and go to Luke 11, verse Four. [This is where you may feel all impressed with the fact that I knew where in the bible to find it. Don’t be. I had to Google, and then go and look for it just as many of you had to.] “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone (NIV)” or “and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us (NLT).” ……………And there you have it, those powerful and life changing words…. “as we forgive” / “as we ourselves forgive”.
‘As we Forgive’… For years those words have always appeared to me as just sweet lyrical filler to the main focus…which is to forgive me. Is it selfish for me to say that? Maybe it is, but don’t act like you didn’t have the same thought. We mess up every day [yes, “we” as in you, me, everyone], and that’s a very conservative evaluation. Every day while we are alive, we mess up. Sometimes it is one big mess, sometimes it is a bunch of little ‘defecatory’ moments that pile up to make a huge mess. When we are alone we do it; when we are in small groups we do it; with every interaction with others, we judge them along with judging ourselves; we try to control them and we hurt them as well as hurting ourselves. If that wasn’t bad enough, we sometimes make other people into human deities and offer our praises and worship to them… I am sure you may be thinking that I am over analyzing… But if you take a moment to think of the way we follow/stalk people on social media and try to emulate them, it is often a reflection of how we feel unfulfilled in our lives while we compare ourselves to their ‘filtered’ lives. Thus, there will always be a strong need every day to get a forgiveness, a reset button, a way to ask God to look into us and see some type of worth under all of our self-imposed filth.
But the thing is, we are not looking for Forgiveness to have any strings attached. We want to receive it without any ifs, ands or buts. Unfortunately, right there in Luke 11, verse four, we create a gigantic mess/defecation of things by not realizing that the forgiveness we receive is actually based on the way that we forgive others. Our drive for pure forgiveness leaves us now vulnerable to a fact that we often take for granted…Do we really Forgive others? Do we really want to be treated the way we treat others? Do we really let go of the energy that is created when we are hurt, disappointed or angered? We may say we forgive others, we may convince ourselves that we have moved on, but if we compare it to the clean slate that we are asking for ourselves we would be lying. Clearly, I may have universally screwed myself for over three decades, because I am not sure if I have ever really forgiven anyone the way I would want God to forgive me….Part two of the Defecation of Forgiveness will follow up very soon.