Although I’m sure we all agree that religion is a very personal thing, I will share with you that I often read from the Bible when I go to bed at night. My days are long and stressful, and with many kids, a big career, and a lot of obligations and responsibilities, I ‘multi-task’ and juggle about a million balls from the time I wake up until I go to bed at the end of my (often 20 hour) day. And I need to kind of de-stress before I go to sleep. Reading religious articles that inspire me, or reading from the Bible really does it for me. It gives me back some perspective, and makes me feel that I am not carrying the whole world on my shoulders alone. And whatever one’s beliefs, there are some great reminders in the Bible, that apply to our dealings with other people, how we treat them, and expect to be treated in return. As I said, it works for me.
In that vein, I came across something wonderful from Ephesians, that really resonated for me: Ephesians 4:32:”…..be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another….”. It really made me stop and think and is such a good message. Things like that immediately make me look back at my day and how I behaved. Was I crabby to people? Was I rude to anyone? Did I lack compassion?….’tenderhearted’ is so sweet, and the reminders to be kind and forgiving are good messages to keep or get us back on track (we all have crabby days, when things get out of control, including our reactions. I sure do). It struck me immediately as I read it that that would be a wonderful message in a wedding ceremony, to be tenderhearted, kind, and forgiving. What better way to behave in a relationship, or in life? I really loved the message. And having read it, I thought about it for a while, promised myself to try and keep those three things in mind, and then turned over and went to sleep. Forgiveness is so important in every relationship, familial, parent/child, husband/wife, partner, employer/employee, or even friends. We don’t go far in life if we are unable to forgive our fellow man, and sometimes there’s a lot to forgive. (I pray hardest for those I have trouble forgiving and who have really hurt me. The others are a lot easier to pray for, the ones who have been kind to me). But there are times when we will want them to forgive us too. And not forgiving is the biggest stumbling block in all relationships, and the surest way to destroy a relationship. Forgiveness, and the ability to do so is so important. The last thing any of us want is to be in a relationship with someone who cant forgive you for your failings or mistakes, and beats you over the head with past crimes every chance they get. Who needs that? I’ve been in those situations, and they’re miserable. Nothing ever heals that way, all the wounds are kept open by lack of forgiveness, and the constant reminders of the times we failed. And I’ve been asked many times what I would want in a man if I were in a relationship again. Kindness is always at the top of my list. People talk about wanting someone to ‘have fun with’, or ‘with a great sense of humor’. I can live without someone having a sense of humor (although I love a good laugh, but I can laugh with my friends, if my romantic interest doesn’t have a great sense of humor), but I can’t live without kindness anymore, and without mutual forgiveness you don’t go far. (I was recently really shocked when I congratulated someone I know who had just gotten married, and he said about his new wife, as her main virtue, “she’s a lot of fun”. Hmmm…..is that enough? Is that what REALLY matters? If I had just married someone, I would sure want them to be able to say a lot more about me than that I’m “a lot of fun”. I would want them to know that I am solid, reliable, caring, kind, intelligent, loving, a good person—not just “a lot of fun”. Somehow, to me, that doesn’t seem like enough, by a long shot. But then again, the person who said it is younger than I am, and I’ve been in enough tough situations in my life to know that you need more than a fun loving spirit to get through them).
In any case, those few words from Ephesians really lit up for me, and I wanted to share them with you. I wish you kind, tenderhearted, forgiving people in your life. It doesn’t get much better than that!!! And they seem like good goals for us all, to express those qualities too. It was a good reminder to me.