When I was an expectant father, I did a major inventory of my life: Love, faith, family, friendships, housing, and financials were, and still remain, very much in my heart and on my mind. Part of that journey led me to Christ Church – a return to my Methodist familial roots. “Lov[ing] God above all things and [my] neighbors as [myself],” is a credo that resonates deeply with me – a simple mantra, but often a tough challenge to apply in our complex world. Loving most people comes easy to me – we are all God’s children and our spiritual (and literal) DNA is intrinsically linked. Loving some people, however, can be a hurdle.
Before my first daughter was born, I began a quest to clear that path – to create a new road – a new way of feeling and thinking that would make it possible for me to love ALL of my neighbors. Reminded to love them as myself, I realized that I first had to fully love myself – to forgive myself for my own imperfect choices, my own transgressions. I prayed on it, and I visualized myself as a little boy on a stage – alone. I saw myself vulnerable and in need of care and comfort. I embraced that boy. I forgave him.
I now apply this to those I find most tough to forgive – most tough to love. I find a way to see them as young and vulnerable souls, and I embrace them. For me, the path to forgiveness of others started with a forgiveness of myself. This proud Dad of two has much to hug and appreciate.
Heavenly Father, I surrender my flaws and imperfections to you, and I ask for your Divine love and peace to guide me – leading me to love purely and deeply all of your children – all of my brothers and sisters. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Friends and members of our Christ Church family have prepared these daily reflections as a means for you to consider how forgiveness informs your faith walk during this holy season. They are a richly diverse group from many different geographies around our nation and globe, formed by a wide variety of traditions.