Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Friendly Fire {A Poem}

She kicked open the door
Like a special agent:
Gun drawn,
Expecting hostility.

What she sought,
She found.
Rounds of sarcasm and bitterness
Alleged self-defense.

Fear leaves two lying wounded,
Surrounded by spent shells.
Gunpowder words cannot be recalled.


Agape love, God's love, "is not provoked;
does not keep a record of wrongs;
...bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:5b, 7, HCSB).

One cannot discuss the Christian practice of love for very long without also mentioning forgiveness. The forgiveness at the heart of the Christian gospel message also lies at the heart of the Christian life.

In my experience and observation, the practice of forgiving love is learned first not in the grand displays of reconciliation in Rwanda or Corrie ten Boom's forgiving the Nazi prison guard, but in the little niggling offenses in the workplace, the household, the church, and the small group. Such things hardly seem worthy of forgiveness. Too petty or minor to cause any trouble. And yet they do.

If left unforgiven, they accumulate like miniscule snowflakes on a hillside, coloring future responses to even innocuous interactions, until an avalanche buries the relationship and only God's grace can restore.

I thank Him that His grace can restore.

And don't grieve God's Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ (Eph. 4:30-32, HCSB).

Walking with Him and the Holy Experience community, considering the practice of love...

...and congratulating Emily on her new arrival, even though there's no Imperfect Prose link-up this week:


  1. Lovely! Much needed words today - thank you!

  2. The poem - speaks so much to me today as a friend just lost a family member to a gunshot. Other bullets penetrate our hearts as well. A needed reminder to forgive, even in the little.

  3. yes, if small acts of forgiveness don't vanquish the small resentments caused by "little niggling offences", those resentments accumulate. conversely, small acts of forgiveness accumulate in a positive way, helping us to be persons whose default is forgiveness instead of resentment. i think "micro-forgiveness" is a especially salutary spiritual discipline, because it is conducive to humility (when we are forgiving small things, rather than big ones, there's less danger of our congratulating ourselves on how virtuous (in particular, how forgiving) we are).

    thanks for the poem and the gloss!

  4. @chris Thank you for the "micro-forgiveness" term and the hopeful idea that small acts of forgiveness can build on each other. "Persons whose default is forgiveness" - I want to be one of those! I recognize in myself the tendency to self-congratulation when all I've done is obey (and imperfectly at that), so it is certainly possible that forgiving small things offers some protection against that bent.

    A well-written poem shouldn't *need* a gloss, but I wanted to turn the blog tone back towards the positive call. :)

    Thank you for your prayers, not just for me but also for other commenters. God has been kind to me in the readers He has brought here.

  5. Ouch. The friendly fire hits home. So thankful that forgiveness is always available for us to give. I pray I will take more advantage of it.

  6. This makes me think of a conversation with my youngest yesterday. She was saying how much she loves playing pretend because you can always start over compared to real life where you can't. Then she added, "Unless you accept Jesus, then you can start over. Except for the words you've said. They're still out there."
    Appreciated your poem and thoughts--and the conversation they then welcomed in my mind. I woke up thinking about forgiveness and how it is essential if wanting to welcome love. Gee, wish we could just talk about all of this over a large glass of iced tea!

  7. So beautiful! Fathoms of depth. Godliness.

    You are so very right--it ALL must be redeemed. Those little seeds of impurity sprout a harvest of cynicism and bitterness when left to seed and reseed themselves.

    Thank you for the reminder to allow Him to sanctify every corner of my spirit. :)

  8. The poem at the beginning - it reminded me of where I was over 20 years ago - realzing that I didn't have to fight to protect myself anymore with words - I gave that battle to God - Peace from the battle - God gave that to me! And, in that peace, I found the ability to forgive:) Your post so touched my heart - reminding me of just how thankful I am that our Father is a loving Father!

  9. This post is powerful - and the! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights today...


    PS - ...she found what she was looking for...that is a great dilemma for us all....

  10. @Lisa notes... Ouch- I know! Writing about forgiveness is easier than practicing it (though not nearly so beneficial). I'm thankful it's always available to receive, too. :) God bless you, friend.

    P.S. Are you going to read the Stott book with the crowd?

  11. @Amy What a wise daughter! Wonder where she learned that... ;)

    A good visit over tea would be wonderful. There's always Skype... (Of course, I say that but I rarely use my account because then I would have to be on camera and out of my comfort zone.)

    God bless you, friend!

  12. @AnneGodliness is in the words written with one's life and not on one's blog (to paraphrase Ann V.). *Sigh*

    What a great image of seeds of impurity propagating! Thanks so much for that.

    Happy homeschooling. I'm sending you a virtual bouquet of sharp #2 pencils.

  13. Mmm hmmm. I find it especially hard to forgive when forgiveness hasn't been sought.

  14. @Brandee Shafer I know, I know. But you know what else? The Lord Jesus prayed from the cross, forgiving those who had not sought it and didn't even know what they were doing so horribly wrong. If it's true, and I believe it is, that His Spirit dwells in us believers, He can do it again when we need to forgive those who haven't sought it.

    Praying for you today, friend.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.