January 11, 2012

It is a case of scratched vinyl?

   Do you remember what it was like to listen to music played from a record?  Each of us had our favorite records – those black vinyl circular things before digital music on ipods, or laser read cd’s, or heads that passed over the tape in a cassette (we won’t even mention an 8-track). We’d place the record on the stereo table and the needle would follow the subtle track of the grooves and the music would play.  Some were played till it seemed the grooves wore out.
But the most dreaded event was the scratch.  And at some point there always came “the scratch” on one of the favored records. 
As your favorite music played, the needle following the track hit the scratch.  The music was never the same.  Sometimes it would continue to play but you would hear the click of the bump of the scratch made again...again….again…until the music got past the area affected by the scratch.  The worst scratches brought the needle hitting the scratch and being stuck in the same groove causing that particular ridge of music to play again… and causing that particular ridge of music to play again… and causing that particular ridge of music to play again…UNTIL the needle was bumped over to continue on an unaffected piece of music.

I recently read a book that quoted Katherine Walden – “Unforgiveness is like a scratch on an old record; the song never goes on to the end.  It keeps the beautiful music yet to be released unheard and all that resounds are the same old three or four chords again, and again, and again.”

 I’ve been witness to this scratch of unforgiveness too many times:
A beautiful family song is playing.  The daughter chose to leave her husband and two children and follow another man. The song never goes on to it’s beautiful melody of lives shared moments, growth, celebrations, grandkids, anniversaries, stable foundations that build lifetimes of God’s intended experiences of love shared
Another family’s song plays. A son off to college and meets others who point out faults here (skip) and there (skip) in his family relationship.  Nothing really meets expectations of either side.  Words are said. Hurt is formed.  Efforts go unmade or unrecognized.  Intentions are misinterpreted.  The song ends abruptly – the beautiful music of relationships experiencing life’s joys and sorrow together with love, support, encouragement, traditions….will never be played.

I’ve experienced this scratch of unforgiveness;
A song of Hope began with curly brown hair and quiet smiles.  A certain doctor refused an appointment.  Illness later was quickly recognized. Realization hit hard when it was time to let go…that song ended.
There was the silence of grief, frustration, anger, anxiety, hate, disbelief (so much more) that grew into nothing but noise – not the song that had begun.  One day the noise had grown too loud – I knew I had to stop the noise of the scratch of being angry and anxious and lift the needle off the scratched song. I had to forgive; forgive the doctor and his refusal; forgive the people who told us if we had enough faith…; forgive those who not knowing what to say stayed away; forgive those who stayed but said such wrongness; forgive myself...

Ephesians says, ‘but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God’.  Not a verse you would think to give to a frustrated, angry, hateful, anxious, mourning woman. I took the verse knowing I needed to give and experience forgiveness and prayed -  BUT pray with thanksgiving?!?  The noise slowly dissipated as I prayed for help in forgiving, as I prayed to forgive and I prayed with thanksgiving for the doctor, the people, myself, the blessings of time given……….Then I heard a melody begin, and grow, and heard the beauty and have felt the peace that transcends understanding coming with the song.  I now have blessings that I otherwise never would’ve dreamed of with the new song…because I forgave.
Please pray for those whose songs have the scratch of unforgiveness.   Encourage them…Find encouragement in scripture yourself to stop the scratch from not allowing the music waiting to be played. Be the one to pray with a repent heart and true thanksgiving and then listen to and experience the beautiful song God has intended.

Matthew 6:14
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Luke 7:48
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times