Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Forgiven

What's your unforgivable sin? I mean, the one that you could never forgive. I can think of a few that would test my ability to survive.  Most of which I've asked God to never let me be tested in that way.

In 2007, I encountered one at the top of my short-sighted limited list and called a lawyer.  A year later, I stood in front of a judge as he signed my divorce papers.  I stood with the same deer in the headlights look as about 10 other people sitting there waiting their turn.

The majority of my divorce survival, I prayed for different things. Mostly, "God, help me get through this moment, hour, day."  But often I asked him to please put true forgiveness in my heart.  I knew it wouldn't happen solely by my own efforts.  Back then, if you Googled "Hell Hath No Fury", I would swear you'd have found my picture.

God kept me . . . sane, I guess.  When I wasn't attempting to control my fate, he generally kept me from hatred.  He was also good enough to allow me the ugly feelings.  But he didn't let me settle there.

God sent my parents here.  He put me in a very unique neighborhood full of friends that helped (and still do).  Often times, unasked.  He gave me the perfect church of patient people able to nurture me while I remained encapsulated in my pain and struggle, often unable to comprehend that anyone else could be hurting as badly as I was or hurting at all.

During the whole time, God worked on The Ex, too.  Quite frequently, he let me witness it.

In 2010, The Ex returned to my state and town. An answer to many prayers of two awesome boys.  And to many of my own.  But it was hard.  It renewed my pain, anger, resentment and need to see him punished.

He returned to various levels of disdain - not just from me but from those in my world that had stood by me.  His own struggle with guilt and shame was made heavier by the judgment of those that loved me.

God sent some of His True People to The Ex.  My pastors, my music director & his wife, and a couple of other folks from my church.  Many of my friends took their lead from me and allowed themselves to be friendly to him.  Many were surprised to find he wasn't a horrible person.

It has taken almost three years in close proximity but God is rocking real forgiveness.  My parents treat The Ex like family now.  My BigSis and her TallGuy would have been first in line to kick his ass back in the early days of the horror show.  And now they accept him as family, too.  That is some grace right there, I tell yah.

You will be shocked and dismayed to hear that I am not perfect.  Nay, it is so.  Most days, I feel like I have completely forgiven The Ex and can be perfectly strong in our friendship.  We laugh a lot.  We watch TV with the boys a lot.  We eat out a lot.  I mean, he was my best friend for 17 years.  Losing that was awful.  God restoring our friendship is just one in a huge thread of miracles in this story.

My imperfection comes in the fragility of my resolve.  I am easily undone by events that remind me of the wrong done me.  I am easily undone by the enemy reminding me of things The Ex did back when we were dissolving.  I am easily undone by any tiny misstep he takes in our friendship.

Over and over these last few years, God keeps reminding me "There IS no unforgivable sin." Not with God.  Humans, sure.  We have our limits.  But even those can be overcome if we ask God to help us.  So I keep asking God to help me forget.  Wipe the bad memories from my brain.  When they come, I tell the enemy to piss off.  Then I box up the memory or emotion, put it down and ask God to take it.  Then I ask him to help me move on without it.  To help me make NEW memories with my friend, The Ex.

Since the holidays - when I had a major Hell Hath No Fury meltdown with The Ex - we have turned a major corner.  We communicate more regularly.  If something is eating at me and I can't make it leave, I tell The Ex.  And he will talk to me.  Sometimes, he lets me cry or vent or just explain how frustrated I am.  I keep thinking each of these episodes will chase him off again.  He has told me that will never happen again.

We are working with God, our church, and counselors to clear the mess between us.  We don't have to FIX all the problems that were there right this minute.  But we are both committed to get them out in the open, identify them, work at making sure we don't repeat it.  How could we ever move on to new relationships if we can't do that?

My point to this whole blathering mess is this: There IS no unforgivable sin.  For me as a human, there are offenses that could take me a lifetime to forgive.  But The Ex has a blank slate from God.  I get a re-do from God all the time.  I want to give The Ex the same blank slate that God already gave him.  And that God repeatedly gives me.

It doesn't really matter what he or I did to break our marriage and get it to the point where we canned it.

What matters is my God came down and suffered all the trappings of humanity - including torture and murder - to allow me my blank slate and freedom from the slavery of a crazy litany of rules.  The least I can do is forgive someone for being imperfect and allow him to be the wonderful guy I met back in the late 80's and shared my life with for 17 years.  And I thank God that he's given The Ex an extra helping of patience to deal with my imperfect humanity while I ride the roller coaster of forgiveness.

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