ONE POSITIVE WAY to LIFE IMPROVEMENT
Very few people are so self-satisfied that they see no need for improvement. Most of us are aware we fall short of perfection on a daily basis.
I have always enjoyed reading autobiographies. I figure who can better tell a person’s story than the person himself? I’m currently reading Sidney Poitier’s The Measure of a Man. In just a few sentences he makes a case for life improvement through forgiveness.
“In this life of mine I can’t recall any situation in which forgiveness hasn’t ultimately been the settlement. However, getting to forgiveness hasn’t necessarily been a rapid transition. Still, I level out with most such relationships at least cleansed of the rancor, if not intact. And I live better with the situation even if a relationship is altered irreparably in some ways.”
His comment coincided with something Fulton Oursler said in his little book of Modern Parables. The Bible says “blessed are the peacemakers,” but how can peace be made in the world? Oursler offered a couple of suggestions: 1) Don’t hold grudges, and 2) Do more than you are required to do.
Though decades apart in their writing, each man referred to rancor. Oursler said, “It is literally true that anger, jealousy, envy---all rancors burn out cells and tissues, use up adrenaline, and, in riotous feeling, spend away our health.”
Give Yourself First Aid
When it comes to healing relationships, forgiveness is basic first aid. Like a healing salve, it offers different remedies. Here are three suggested treatments:
1. Give up your resentful desire to punish the one who offended
or mistreated you.
2. Choose to overlook the offense, offer them pardon, then let it go.
3. Release them from your expectations, remain open-hearted,
let bygones be bygones.
Make the First Move
I think there’s truth in Mr. Poitier’s comment that even if he forgives, the relationship may be “irreparably altered.” That’s why I think scripture is realistic when it says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). No matter how the other person responds, you can relax. You have done your part toward restoration.
The Lord’s Prayer is a good spiritual litmus test. Some people say, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Others say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Say it either way. If you feel a prick in your spirit ask God to show you the problem.
Improve Your Life
I have yet to meet a person who has never been offended. Life, even at its best, has rough edges that cause wounds. Just remember, forgiveness is one positive way to life improvement.