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Which bridge do you take?

Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs.  But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do. (Matthew 6:14-15 ERV)

Thomas Fuller put it this way: "He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven." I don't know where you stand today as it comes to this forgiveness continuum, but let me assure you of this - none of us has "perfectly arrived" at this destination! There are ALWAYS going to be new opportunities to cross that bridge time and time again. As long as we are taking in breath, people will be annoying, inconsiderate, forgetful, hurtful, lacking empathy, etc. People will stand in need of forgiveness - plain and simple. Some will be part of our lives - others will merely cross our paths briefly. Regardless - all will need that infinite measure of grace and forgiveness from time to time.

I believe the hardest bridge to cross is not so much the bridge of forgiveness, but of forgetting - erasing from our memories the actions (or inactions) of another that made it necessary to cross the first bridge of forgiveness in the first place. There are times when we believe forgiving will also deal with the unpleasant memories that want to creep up from time to time, but this is rarely the case, for our memories are like steal traps that store away tons and tons of "useless" information! Yeah, those memories of being "wronged" are not always all that "useful" to us - in fact, they bring us more harm than good. We hold onto those "wrongs" in our memories a lot longer than we might imagine we do - for complete erasure of the wrong isn't fully accomplished until the bridge of forgiveness is joined with the bridge of reconciliation. 

Reconciliation is not always possible when someone is no longer in our lives, so it is important to "take action" when we can. We can make reconciliation in a number of different ways.  The Latin term from which we get our word "reconcile" actually means to "make good again, repair". In the most basic sense of the term, to reconcile means that we move heaven and earth to bring full restoration to what has been broken down by whatever tore us apart in the first place. Now, at first, most of us will say, "Yeah, but they need to meet us half-way." Yes, this is a common belief, but if you look at what scripture teaches, the one who realizes there is a "rift" created by some action should be the one beating a path to the other person's door. In fact, Jesus illustrated this by his very life on this earth, culminating in his death and resurrection. For that life brought reconciliation by making a pathway to us so we'd have a pathway to God's throne unhindered by our own sin!

The time to reconcile is now. The way to reconcile is through forgiveness - extending grace where it may be least sought and where it is greatly needed. The means to reconcile is the bridge of love - for God SO LOVED us that he gave and he gave and he gave and he keeps on giving. Maybe we don't know how to forget, but as we continue to love like God calls us to love, it will become less and less important to hold onto the things we once focused on as so important to remember. Just sayin!

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