Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Feet and Forgiveness

Until recently, one of my toes had been giving me problems for months, and I mean months.  I kept blaming the problems on hiking a volcano in Guatemala when I was in seminary without wearing appropriate shoes.  But then this fall I got a cut on my toe that didn't heal, and it became quite painful.

Even still, I put off seeing a doctor about it for quite awhile.  Then, it occurred to me that I better get it checked out, especially since I’m a type 1 diabetic, which can lead to foot problems.  To this day, I can still hear the doctors warning me about the complications that could arise if I didn't take care of my diabetes...amputation, blindness, kidney failure.  It's pretty motivating!

With this in mind, I made an appointment to see the podiatrist as soon as I could.  But I also started to worry about how serious the problem might really be: What if I had permanent damage?  What if waiting meant I would have to have my foot amputated? If I had only dealt with the problem right away, I could have prevented it from becoming worse…

Thankfully, the doctor was able to take care of my toe quickly and easily.  And now that my toe is healed, it feels like I have a whole new foot.  I can’t help but think what a waste it was not to go to the doctor sooner!

In light of this, I got to thinking about how often we do this sort of thing with other areas   For example, when we are offended or upset by someone, all too often it seems that we do not deal with that particular issue right away.  Since conflict is uncomfortable for many of us, we put it off and avoid facing the problem head-on.
of life as well, particularly when we need to either ask for, or offer, forgiveness.

Similarly, since not many of us like to readily admit when we are in the wrong, it can take a long time to own up to a mistake or our role in a problem.  And in either of these situations, in the meantime, it takes its toll both on us and on the relationship involved.
Whenever we put off forgiving another or asking for forgiveness, it takes a toll on us by generating unnecessary stress and taking up precious space in our mind.   

It takes a toll on our relationship with the other person because it impacts our communication, effects the time we may spend with them, and influences our feelings toward that person too.  And whenever we nurse a grudge, avoid a problem, or resist apologizing, it gets in the way of our relationship with God too.




On the other hand, when we are able to ask for or offer forgiveness when we need to, instead of discord and stress, we’re likely to feel peace and wholeness instead.  It frees us to focus on other things and re-aligns us to the way God wants us to live.  As it’s written in the book of Ephesians, “Whatever is true, pure, and commendable…think about these things...Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”


Like it was with my sore toe, though I could still function with it when it was painful and numb, now that it’s better, I’m reminded how good a healthy foot feels and I don’t have to think about it anymore.  When I do, instead of worrying about it or wincing in pain, I’m filled with thanksgiving and gratitude instead.

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