I wish I could do this day over so that I could choose not to do the clumsy and stupid thing I did that caused someone else pain.
Someone who was already in some of the worst pain imaginable. It doesn't matter that I never intended to hurt this person - the fact is, I did. It doesn't matter that my heart is broken now with sorrow for the injury I've caused - this person's heart is broken even more.
How I wish there were words that had the power to take away the pain caused by other words.
I wish the bell could be un-rung.
I wish I could do this day over. Instead, I will have to live with the sorrow I feel, and pray that God will heal the sorrow I've caused. I will beg the Lord to clean up after my mess, and repair what I have done so badly.
This is a tough lesson. It is hard when words we think are carefully chosen still come out wrong, and still do damage we never intended. I've been on the receiving end of words like that, and now I am on the giving end. Neither end feels good.
Tonight something unexpected has happened for me as a result. A few years ago I was the subject of a nasty and insulting rumor that attempted to scandalize me and my marriage. It didn't matter that it was absurd and false, the rumor spread until it was the talk on the playground among other moms.
I have said for years that I forgive the person responsible, yet my heart has harbored the hurt and nurtured the grudge. I have wanted desperately to let it go and just not care anymore, and release this person to God in forgiveness. But it has been a real struggle, because the nature of the slander was so vile.
I have tried to focus on the greatest definition of forgiveness that I've ever heard: In Jesus' name, I set you free. You don't owe me anything anymore." That is the essence of forgiveness -- you don't owe me anything anymore.
Tonight somehow, the struggle to forgive is gone, and I no longer have resentment toward the person who slandered me. Tonight I understand all too well the damage words can do, even though I did not desire to do damage.
I have no right to ask for forgiveness if I will not extend forgiveness.
I pray that the person I hurt today will forgive me. Why does it seem we have to learn at someone else's expense?
Is there someone you're needing to forgive tonight? I hope you will. Maybe you'll spare yourself the tough lesson.