The Accidental Pharisee

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Family Heirlooms Part 2

Family heirlooms. Treasured items passed down from generation to generation. You can almost hear the whispered admonitions: "Whatever you do, don't lose this!" "Don't drop it!" "Be careful, this has been in our family for years!"

Last week, I shared about one of my family's heirlooms: masks.

As I read through 2 Corinthians 5, I was reminded once again of another family treasure that I held onto for too many years: unforgiveness. Paul talks about how we've been reconciled to God--and how we are now God's ambassadors. Verse 18 says we've been given "the ministry of reconciliation" to share with others.

And I thought about all those years I struggled with unforgiveness. I struggled to say, "I'm sorry" or to accept someone else's apology, no matter how heartfelt.

And, yes, I hate to admit that.

Like an oh-so-precious load of bricks, unforgiveness was passed down to me, generation to generation. I am not fault-finding here. I am not pointing fingers. I picked the load up and accepted it.

Carrying that load of unforgiveness, how could I be an ambassador of Christ? How could I participate in my God-given ministry of reconciliation?

The answer is painfully obvious.

Just Thinking Out Loud: Sometimes black and white is dangerous for an Accidental Pharisee like me. And sometimes, like now--looking at something in the stark shades of black and white is a very good thing. Holding onto unforgiveness hinders my participation in the ministry of reconciliation that God has called me to. It's not anything I haven't heard before--forgive others in the way I've been forgiven, right? But, I'm hearing it in a different way--and I hope I'm listening.

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