This week I had the not so fun job of power washing my deck, but I must say it is a bit satisfying to blast away flecks of old stain, rotting wood, and preparing the wood for a new fresh coat of stain. This year the deck is 24 years old, and we need to start replacing a few boards that have rotted.
One thing I noticed was the sides of the boards had rotted away wherever there was no drainage between boards, and in all honesty, I created this problem by brushing my dog on the deck. You see the dog hairs would get swept into the cracks of the deck and seal them off. My big dog Dallas is a mutt, but also has a lot of Labrador Retriever blood. If you know anything about Labs, they are water dogs, and they have very coarse and waterproof fur. Not the best kind of dog hair to get jammed in the cracks of your boards. When the cracks were sealed with hair, the water could not drain away and dry, hence the wood started to rot.
I couldn’t help thinking how this jammed in hair caused so much rot. I wondered if I had not plugged them up would my deck be fine and not need new boards? Then I had the thought that the swept in hair is a lot like unforgiveness in our lives. Yeah, those little grudges that we can perseverate on that make us feel down and cynical towards the world in general and the other people we encounter. Sometimes they can keep us mired in the swamp of “victimhood” which always increases symptoms of depression and decreases our joy.
So what do you want to do? Tackle the issues of forgiveness you have been procrastinating on – or sweep those hairs into the crack?
One thing I tell my Christian clients is that forgiveness is not a choice for a Christ follower, it is a command. Ephesians 4:29 says, ”Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Notice it doesn’t say “when you feel like it” or “in time when you are ready.”
When someone hurts us in an evil way, and it is not safe to reconcile with that person, then we need to surrender our resentment about the issue to God. We can do that knowing that he is the “just judge” and can dole out punishment if it is needed. If we start thinking of the offense again, we immediately say,” Stop, I gave this to God and He is taking care of it! I am going to think about good things and how thankful I am instead.” ( It is not suggested or recommended that you go and offer forgiveness to someone in person, who is not safe and has abused you. Counseling can be helpful in working through these issues.)
So why do we procrastinate on this forgiveness of the small stuff? Most of the time we can go to the person we are mad at and talk it out with them. So why don’t we? I think there are a lot of reasons for this;
- it’s not the cultural norm
- They should be coming to us (after all they were the offender)
- it requires time and planning
- we are busy with other things
- pride- it’s hard to admit when we mess up
- we wait too long, and it seems kind of dumb or embarrassing to bring it up now.
The list can go on and on. The hair gets swept into the crack. The rot sets in.
What is the answer? Through prayer and having the hard talks with people we need to forgive, we have the power to bring the issue into the light so it can be dealt with. Issues swept into the rotting wet decaying crack can not be healed. It’s really dark in there and wet and rotting. What if the person who offended us is dead or unsafe? Our therapist’s care about you and would love to help you with this journey of “clean out the cracks”. I hope you have the courage to give us a call and get started on a bright fresh future without the past weighing you down.