Thursday, May 04, 2006

Day 30: 7 X 70

Years ago when my wife was still in college she performed with an improvisational dance group. As you can imagine, improvisational dance is well - improvised. Sometimes it is great and sometimes not. One particular dance they performed stands out in my mind still today.

I don't remember if there was music. Perhaps just a big barrell drum pounding a steady and increasing beat. About 15 dancers moved through a large space in increasing chaotic patterns. As the beat quickened the movement of the dancers increased in speed and intensity. There was a tremendous feeling of tension within the room. Dancers were cutting each other off and bumping into each other. As the tension increased toward an inevitable catastrophe, one dancer suddenly stopped and said softly, "forgive me." Another dancer immediately responded,"I forgive you." Several dancers embraced, others exchanged those same words. Instantly all was at peace, all was healed, all was forgiven.

When everything around us seems out of control and in chaos, I'm thankful for the calming, healing power of those simple words, "Forgive me. I forgive you."

A friend told a story of a dream he'd had after being 'stabbed-in the back' by a co-worker. His heart had turned bitter. He was wallowing in his spite. He could not find the power to forgive. Then he had a dream. In the dream he was in the emergency room. He had several knife wounds in his back and the knives were still there. Because of the pain he felt he did not want the doctor to remove the knives. The doctor told him that he must remove the knives or he would die. In refusing to forgive, even when those who have offended are not seeking forgiveness, we only hurt ourselves.

Another friend of mine taught that we are required to forgive all men. How many times are we required to forgive 7 X 70 (maybe that means we shouldn't keep track). He also taught that as many times as we sought His forgiveness he would forgive us.

There is healing in forgiveness.

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