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I gotta let this go!

single correction makes a more lasting impression on one who is wise than a hundred lashes do on a fool.  (Proverbs 17:10 VOICE)

Just before this verse comes the instruction about forgiveness - it fosters love whenever forgiveness is extended in sincerity. I think people who are open to correction are also very forgiving people - first because they have learned to admit to their own wrongs and forgive themselves, as well as being able to not hold another in a position of "owing" them for any misdeeds. Bitter people are seldom delighted to embrace correction - especially the first time they hear it. They want to justify their position of being angry with another, so they just hold onto their position (right or wrong) and let the juices eat at them a while.

As the rest of the passage goes, it reminds us of the need to release others because holding onto a thousand wrongs done by the other person only makes us very bitter people.  It is almost like it chains us to the ugliness of our memories and we just get stuck in the mire and muck of all those misgivings, misdeeds, and missed opportunities.  To constantly recall wrong-doing is to drive the nail in even deeper - ensuring we hold onto the bitterness a little bit longer.  The problem with recall is sometimes we recall the worst stuff easier than we do the best!

I have often wondered why that is the case - why we can think of all the bad stuff quicker and easier than we can think of the good stuff - but honestly I am not sure any of us really know.  We are kind of flawed ourselves, so I imagine it could be that it is easy to see flaws in another since we are always looking at them in ourselves, too.  There is an old saying that reminds us it takes one to know one.  In other words, we are sensitive to the things in others that we are often struggling with ourselves.  If they are negative, chances are we are struggling to keep a positive attitude ourselves.  If they are cheaters, always looking for the easy way out, maybe we are a little bit the same.

That isn't what we probably want to hear, though.  We don't want to associate the "bad stuff" we see in another as something we could possibly have as part of our make-up.  We want to think we are "better than that", but I think if we dig a little bit deeper, we might just figure out we are not that much different. We are experienced in the same sin as the guy we are holding the grudge against - maybe not manifested in exactly the same way, but we have a way of manifesting the same root-cause, just in a different "form" outwardly.

A fool takes lash after lash, still not learning from those lashes.  I wish I could say I have learned from the lash the first time each and every time, but I will be the first to admit, I am a little more than foolish when it comes to learning from some of my sin!  I have been known to need a few more lashes on occasion! To learn from our mistakes, we must first own up to them.  To own up to them might just mean we have to admit the blame we wanted to pin on another lies squarely on our shoulders.  The relationship mess we are in might just be because we first started down the slippery slope of unforgiveness or holding things against the other person.  In fact, the more we did it, the more comfortable we became with engaging in that kind of "justification" of our anger, bitterness, and resulting unforgiving attitude.

I would love nothing more than to see each of us move from the side of the fool to the side of the wise - learning from one simple correction instead of the multitude of lashes!  I think we can make great strides toward this position when we finally are willing to do the work of letting go of the stuff we should not have held onto in the first place!  Just sayin!

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