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Make forgiveness intentional

In one of my former schools, a sign was displayed in the head teacher’s office: ‘when I am right a thousand times, no one remembers; when I am wrong only once, no one forgets’.

I now know it is a common adage, but back in my teenage days it was the first time I was seeing it, and me having a photographic memory, it has stuck with me. Every time someone uses it, that simple A4 paper on the head teacher’s wall comes back to mind.

I don’t think he knows how much it has influenced by life, even decades later. I find myself having an amazing amount of tolerance, because I am trying not to focus on the one time someone gets things wrong in my books, but instead think of all the other times they made me glad.

Even in your walk with God, it will help you; stop focusing on the one time a minister bungled things up badly, and dwell more on how they were a blessing before. Forgiveness will come easier that way.

Even with God, we are very quick to grumble, complain and throw tantrums for Him when things don’t go our way occasionally, totally forgetting the glorious times when God made us weep with joy.

It could be your spouse, pastor, name it... be intentional in the quest for forgiveness by listing the different ways this person made your life a joy to live. There is one person I really struggled to forgive, especially when I discovered the full scale of her betrayal and hypocrisy.

It was so bad that even when I wracked my brain for one thing I could be thankful for, I drew blanks. Then one day I was dressing up on a cold morning and pulled on my favourite cardigan, bought in Nairobi so many years ago.

That person is the one who had taken me on that trip to Nairobi and even paid for the sweater. As I fastened the buttons, I found myself smiling at the warm memories from that trip and just like that, I could finally forgive her, as opposed to when all I could see were the bad things she had done to hurt me and bring me down.

You can do it; don’t judge people on the one time they stumbled. Try to dig deeper and find the good things that once connected you, and that is how forgiveness will come.

Otherwise, salvation without a forgiving heart is such a waste of time. The toxicity you store up can never allow you to live in the goodness of God.

malita@observer.ug

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