confusion central
if you’re here, you are SO lost.

fictitious fortitude (or Lydia can’t write fiction!)

Don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest…

…nothing’s worth losing
Especially the chance to make it right…
I know that we’re gonna be fine
And the tattooed mistakes are gonna fade over time
As long as we live time passes by
And we won’t get it back when we die…

Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day
at Massah in the desert….

Be very careful, then, how you live—
not as unwise but as wise, making
the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish,
but understand what the Lord’s will is.

What do Linkin Park, Bowling for Soup, Psalm 95:7b-8 and Ephesians 5:15-17 have in common?  Ok…I give up. 🙂 Look close, though, because it isn’t difficult to see if you’re looking with an open mind.  Essentially, these two songs and two verses illustrate four key points that are very similar.

1. Do not resent
2. Do not waste time
3. Do not harden your heart
4. Do not pass up opportunities

Let’s set up a fictional situation to illustrate this.

You and a friend are hanging out in your back yard.  Your grouchy neighbor leans across the fence and yells at you for smashing his best roses…even though you didn’t.  Your parents don’t believe you, though.  Resultantly, both you and your friend are punished because your driving, texting, emailing and hanging-out privileges are suspended for three months. During the time you are grounded, your friend unexpectedly moves away, and you don’t have a chance to say goodbye to him.  (Yes, it’s extremely far-fetched.  But work with me here. 🙂  )

It isn’t fair, right?  So you resent.  You could forgive your neighbor and move on, but you blame him.  You spend a lot of time thinking how terrible your punishment is and how you wish you could get back at your neighbor.  Even though you hear repeatedly from many different sources that you should probably just get on with life, you choose to ignore that advice.  You run into your neighbor every now and then, but you walk in huge circles in order to avoid going near his lawn and refuse to speak to him, even when he greets you.  You pretend not to hear him.  Besides, everywhere you turn, it seems like other kids are talking about how mean and annoying he is.  And you miss your friend.  It’s just…hard.  It’s easier to leave it alone.  It also, for some reason, makes you feel better to be angry about it still.  I mean, it isn’t like you can go back in time and bring your friend back!

…aside from proving that I can’t write fiction, this is probably way too complicated… 😦

Think of it this way…. When something’s dead, you don’t want to leave it alone.  You can’t!  You have to get rid of it before it rots and stinks up everything in the vicinity (I have a story about this, but it can definitely wait… 😀  ). If you slice your finger, you don’t just ignore it and go out to play in the mud.  You dump disinfectant on it, clench your teeth and brave the necessary pain.  The result of that temporary pain, though, is the healing of that cut – and the avoidance of some very bad, very permanent things, such as an infection and possible amputation.

Again, extreme.  But if our fingers need to be cared for by disinfecting and bandaging, and dead things need to be thrown out, how can we justify letting things that bother us get under our skin (metaphorically) and stay there?  These two examples of decay are completely insignificant compared to what can go on in our hearts.  In the first example, it just stinks, and flies are typically present.  In the other, you could lose your finger, your hand, or your whole arm if the infection is bad enough.  But even losing a limb pales in comparison to losing our balance and just hating with everything we have.  The state of your physical being is not the most important part of you.  You aren’t a body with a soul as an afterthought: Your body is only a house for your spirit.

So why do we choose to hold these things?  Take it from me, there are many reasons that see perfectly justifiable. First, especially if we’re in a situation where we can’t change things, being angry helps us feel like we’re doing something.  Unfortunately, the only thing we’re doing is hurting ourselves.  That, most people will agree, is not progress.

Second, we don’t have to forgive.  And if we don’t have to, we don’t want to because to tell the truth, it makes us happy to be angry with a person or situation.  As in the first reason, it helps us feel like we’re going somewhere.  They’ve done us wrong!  We have a sense of honor – we won’t let that be violated.  And no, they can’t have our forgiveness, because that would be tantamount to admitting “defeat.”

There are more reasons, but reasons need not be…reasonable…to appeal when you’re hurting. Learning to let go is part of life.  That’s my new mantra: I tell it to just about everyone I meet.  Those who wish to live in the past may.  However, it’s more conducive to growth and fun to step out of the way you used to see things, to let it go, to release that grudge or two or three and try to exercise perspective.

Forgiving isn’t plea-bargaining.  It’s also not optional.  God requires it…..if we were forgiven to the extent that we forgive, we would be “dedder then ded lizerds*.”  Jesus told his disciples to pray for forgiveness as they forgave.  Is there a message there?  Like…will God forgive us to the extent that we are not like the servant who was forgiven his debt and immediately rushed to extract payment for a debt due him from another? (Sorry, that was kind of a run-on sentence…)

Jesus also instructed to forgive “seventy times seven times” – or as many times as someone wrongs us. All lofty theology aside, Jesus was completely man and was tempted as we are.  How many times do you think he was tempted to hold a grudge?  To choose a hard heart, resentment, wasted time? He never did, though, because God, thank Him, does not hold grudges.  He does not resent.  He does not waste opportunities or time. Thank goodness. How, then, can we?



2 Responses to “fictitious fortitude (or Lydia can’t write fiction!)”

  1. Hmm, very, very interesting, something we all need to take to heart

  2. Yeah, this is a really long, contorted post. Hopefully someone will be able to wring something meaningful out of it. It was yet another example of me not really proofreading before I post… 😦 Sorry.

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