Remember the perennial fall television special, Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin? Eventually viewers were shown the interplay between Lucy and Charlie Brown and the question, “Will Lucy pull the football away just as Charlie Brown attempts to kick it?”
Every year, viewers sadly noted Lucy was consistent even though she promised Charlie she would not do it to him again this year—yet, she did it anyway. And every year, from our living rooms, we told Charlie not to believe her!
Consistency of Forgiveness
But, he forgave her. Every time. And, he would wipe the slate clean between them, every time. He believed more in the idea of kicking the football than the reality that Lucy would pull the ball out from him, and he would fall.
I chose to believe Charlie was an optimist rather than a masochist.
Being able to forgive involves a big picture understanding of our relationship not only with another but also with ideas.
The idea of forgiveness is a gift.
Extending forgiveness is a gift.
The Gift of Forgiveness
The gift of forgiveness suggests that our relationships triumph over contentious behavior. Howard Thurman notes in his inspirational book, Jesus and the Disinherited, that love cannot operate until there is forgiveness. Forgiveness is mandatory because (1) God forgives us again and again whether our actions are intentional or unintentional, (2) No evil deed represents the full intent of the doer, (3) Life is its own restraint or as we say in the vernacular, “What goes around comes around.”
Understand that forgiveness is a way to liberate yourself. You free yourself when you forgive. The burden of carrying around grudges and unhealthy thoughts is too cumbersome for our life’s journey. Let’s focus this month on the places in our lives we can forgive and let those burdens go.
Rev. Gerald Davis serves as the minister of Church of the Restoration Unitarian Universalist and as an Affiliate Minister at All Souls Unitarian Church, both in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Every second Sunday and Wednesday, you can join Rev. Gerald Davis for All Souls Reads. Rev. Davis leads the discussion about literature that explores the human condition when overcoming oppressive circumstances. November’s book is The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States by Walter Johnson. Join us on Zoom!
2nd Sundays | 1:30 p.m. | Register: bit.ly/ASRSunday
2nd Wednesdays | 7 p.m. | Register: bit.ly/ASRWednesday
Read more from Rev. Davis on our blog, beyondbelief.online.
Cover image: Joey Waggoner