Have you seen the movie ‘Pay it Forward’? I am not sure I can recommend it because it produced a crying episode for both Craig and I that kept us up all night after watching it. I thought paying it forward was an inspiring concept and this suckered us into watching it, I had no idea it was going to make us feel depressed also. The point of the movie is this little kid went on the quest to influence everyone everywhere to give kindness to strangers without expectation of a return favor, knowing somehow, somewhere a kindness would come back around. It’s like making deposits into a community bank account.
It reminds me of a friend in Arizona who turned a special bulb on for me long ago. He’s a lawyer, one of the sharpest men I’ve met, and he and Craig co/taught our adult bible study. I was surprised when he told us that he has some family members who really get under his skin. He just didn’t seem like the type who could be knocked off his center by the behavior of other people. He confessed to us that every single year during the holidays a family member would push his buttons until he was steaming mad. Every year! So he decided to get ahead of the game. One year he thought, I’m going to forgive that person in advance so my holidays aren’t ruined by my angry reactions. And it worked! When that person was faithful to the old game, our friend smiled and thought, I’ve already forgiven you for that annoyance and it can’t make me angry this time.
Let’s think about that. We are two days away from Thanksgiving and that ushers in the roaring current of the Christmas festivities which come loaded with family interactions. We all know we are going to face some testy people in the next few days and weeks. Perhaps all of us can spend a little time meditating on this “forgive it forward” solution. If there is someone who pulls back the curtain on you and lets all the insecurities find their freedom to play at your expense then have a little prayer walk and meditate on this probable reoccurrence. It might take some time to get your heart in the right alignment with the good idea of forgiving it forward. Give it all the time necessary using the disciplines of prayer, meditation, journaling and solitude to put the ugly outrage in its place…. sent packing, for good.
Essentially, we can only be responsible for our own choices and actions. We aren’t able to fix or control other people. They are going to do what they are going to do. We can choose to do what’s right. Forgiveness isn’t for the other person’s benefit. It’s for you. Let’s all practice to “forgive it forward”, I believe if we do, not only will it please God, but it will improve our lives and relationships.