I think that one of my biggest challenges as a Christian is going to be forgiveness. Not even necessarily forgiveness for major transgressions; in some cases I’ve found it easy to forgive people who have done me great wrong since it’s easy to see that they just have major problems in their own lives. But little, petty things often get me really fired up and full of vitriol, and it’s extremely difficult to imagine that I’ll ever get to the point that I can be one of those people who lets minor offenses roll off their backs, simply promising to include the offender in their prayers. For example:
Since I never see any of my friends anymore I decided to have a little get-together to celebrate the impending arrival of baby #2. On the invitations I described it as a Potluck & Baby Shower, and I included a note asking people to bring a dish for the potluck in lieu of gifts. I thought it would be a nice idea to have people bring food instead of gifts since I have all the stuff I need for the baby and have NO room for new stuff (80% of our belongings are already in a storage unit). I hate for my friends and family to spend their hard-earned money on things that I don’t have space for and probably wouldn’t even use.
Anyway, my mother-in-law has some friend who evidently thinks my son is just too cute. She has no children of her own and evidently likes hearing about and seeing pictures of our family, including putting a picture of my son up on her refrigerator. Because of this my mother-in-law is always adamant that I invite this woman to all my events (my first baby shower, my son’s birthday, etc.) even though I’ve never met her. Great, no problem. So I sent her an invitation to this get-together. My mother-in-law called this morning and mentioned that this friend received her invitation, and that her comment about it was, “What’s wrong with these people that they can’t even afford to provide food for their guests?” So, how would my priest say I should respond to that?
RIGHT: “I’m sorry that she isn’t familiar with the concept of a potluck. I do hope she’ll join us anyway. I’ll keep her in my prayers.”
WRONG: “What’s wrong with that [expletive] that she’s never heard of a [expletive] potluck? What an [expletive] [expletive] [expletive]!”
Guess which one was my reply, as I ran to my computer to delete her contact info from my address book to ensure that she never receives another invitation or Christmas card from me again.
I have been on fire and full of ill wishes for this woman all day. Clearly she touched a nerve, probably because I actually can’t afford to provide food for my guests and I feel bad about that. Ever since my husband and I totally realigned our priorities in life we’ve had a lot less money at our disposal, and it’s something I’m self-conscious about.
So that is going to be my spiritual challenge and thought project for this week: trying to conquer my hot-tempered nature and actually practice the whole “as we forgive those who trespass against us” part of the prayer I say every night. Especially for things like this that are really minor in the grand scheme of things, I should be more spiritually mature than to stew about this all day. This woman was created in the image of God just like me and I should let her comment go.
Even if she is a total wench. 🙂
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