I just had to share this. Every night for devotions, the family reads a little story out of a 365-day devotional about Christians and Martyrs. We happened to read about Anne Askew last night. It really made me stop and think about FoRgIvEnEsS.
Anne Askew was a woman separated from her family, kicked out of her house by her husband, and taken to the Tower of London because of her Protestant beliefs. There she was forced on the rack and tortured constantly. She would faint from the pain; so the torturers would lower her, wait for a little, and start torturing her again once she revived. She was racked so much that she was crippled from the ordeal. From there, she was eventually carried to the stake and burnt as a heretic. This was the prayer she prayed before she left this earth.
"O Lord, I have more enemies now, than there be hairs on my head! Yet, Lord, let them never overcome me with vain words, but fight thou, Lord, in my stead: for on Thee cast I my care! With all the spite they can imagine, they fall upon me, who am Thy poor creature. Yet, sweet Lord, let me not set by them that are against me; for in Thee is my whole delight. And, Lord, I heartily desire of Thee, that, Thou wilt, of Thy most merciful goodness, forgive them that violence which they do, and have done unto me; open also Thou their blind hearts, that they may hereafter do that thing in Thy sight, which is only acceptable before Thee, and to set forth Thy verity aright, without all vain fantasies of sinful man. So be it, 0 Lord, so be it "
After being put through physical and emotional pain, Anne forgave her torturers! All anyone has to do to me is simply say the wrong thing to me, take something that I thought should have been mine, or even treat me with less respect than I thought I deserve--- and I become this uptight, grumpy, grudge-bearing, unforgiving MarJanita. I can't imagine if I would have been in Anne Askew's shoes; I would probably have been praying, "O Lord, I have more enemies now, than there be hairs on my head! (I really hope you do something really terrible to them to avenge me this agonizing pain)... Yup, that's all I ask, Lord; just do whatever You have to do to teach them a lesson. Amen."
Perhaps I should start to see things through Christ's eyes, the way Anne did. Perhaps FoRgIvEnEsS should start to become more of a daily routine with me. If I start with the small things that aggravate me- like halfheartedly-done jobs, pathetic attitudes, terrible drivers, and annoying customers- maybe I will start to form the habit of FoRgIvEnEsS and be able to forgive the "big things".
After all, I pray to become more like Christ; and I can't think of a greater example of FoRgIvEnEsS than the Savior hanging on a tree saying, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"!