I am a list maker. I make a list for things I need to accomplish each day, my menu for the week, my bills, my grocery shopping trip. I make lists for my lists even! (I know, I have issues!) I find it is the best way for me to keep track of all the things I have going on at one time and of all the things I need to do. I even started this year of with a list, a list for my Project 365, a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2012. I love lists!
There are however two kinds of lists I do not love. That is the list that I play in my head when someone reminds me of something I did wrong. That is the list that surfaces when I am in a conversation with someone and they bring up something in my past. Something that was long ago laid to rest (or so I thought). This list I struggle with and this list can take me places I would rather not ever go again. This is a list is of things I can not change.
I was in a conversation yesterday where this list was mentioned. I stopped and closed my eyes and took a few seconds to gather my thoughts before I spoke. This is a list of things that we would undo in a heart beat if only we could. Making amends, seeking forgiveness and learning from this list are so important and is what is right. Being held captive by things we can not change on this list is not. I reminded this person that I cannot undo what I have done. What I can do and what I have done is live a different kind of life. I have become a different person. The old things are behind me and I strive each day to live a different kind of life. I realize that doesn’t mean that just because I have faced and dealt with the things on my list that others have done the same thing. My part was to obey, move forward, not repeat my mistakes and live a life of love and purpose.
The other list is a list that contains the things others have done to us. The things that have wounded us and hurt our heart and that has become a part of who we are. This list is hard. This list I am having to learn to let go of and forgive, even when the attitudes are the same, when the hurtful words continue and when there has been no amends. This list is the one that true love asks me to forgive as I have been forgiven. This list requires understanding what real love means.
I am reminded: He loved me! I didn’t deserve it and I can never repay it, yet still, He loved me! If I have given Him my list and He has changed me I have to give Him all my lists. The ones that I hold on to because I am afraid, regretful, ashamed and even vengeful. I have to allow Him to write upon my heart what real love means. I have to realize that the way He loved me even after I walked away from Him is the way He wants me to love others. His love doesn’t look back at all my shortcomings and mistakes. He keeps no record of my wrongs. His love sees me just as I am and looks ahead to see all I have been created to be.
Today I am redoing an old lesson. With paper and pen in hand I have made a list. An actual record of my wrongs and the wrongs I am struggling with that others have done to me. Real love took away my sins. Real love has kept no record of my wrongs. Today I strive to love that way. To let go of this record of wrongs and move on.
I asked the question of the person I was in this conversation with yesterday, “Why is it we bring up the past?” The answer is quite simple. We are not willing to let it go. As long as we are not willing to let it go we will struggle with forgiveness and will not understand fully the gift of real love!
“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best,
Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”