As I was saying my prayers last night a thought hit me. Something has happened and I am not even sure when. Now when I think of it, it is actually kind of sad in one way but wonderful in another.
The Lord’s Prayer is but a part of my nightly prayers. Now I am not a Biblical scholar but I would thing it is fair to say that the Lord’s Prayer is one of the most important prayers in the Christian faith. Now I am woefully lacking in knowledge of the other great Faiths but I would imagine they have a similar prayer or prayers with similar wording. I would appreciate it if followers of other faiths inform me of this.
The Lord’s Prayer:
Over the years I have said that prayer thousands of times. I take prayer seriously as I imagine do all. A while back a bit of a startling revelation hit me. I had said this prayer so very many times, it had become habit for me to mumble the words without any thought to it. It had become just part of the routine I go through on a daily basis. Mumbling the words because that is what I am supposed to do.
Now, it also came to me a while back that the Good Lord, in His wisdom is granting me extra time on this earth. Why I do not know, but will gratefully accept and treasure each and every moment.
Once I got over the initial shock of what the doctors had told me. I decided to use this time to do my best to prepare myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually for what I know lies ahead. As I did this and searched within myself, I realized it was and is important for me to leave this world with what I call a clear heart. For me that partially means a heart free of any anger, bitterness, any misgiving towards others. There is also the flip aside to that coin but I will get into that another time (seeking forgiveness). I wanted, I needed to let go of negative feelings I held in my mind and heart. As I took a deep personal inventory of my life, I realized I harbored many resentments, ill will and some general feelings of misgivings towards some others. I badly wanted to let these feelings go. I worked at it and was able to make some progress. I guess I got to the point where I was able to think, “OK, I forgive you but it was still a pretty “nasty” thing you did and I still think you are a jerk.” Now I suppose that was progress, but not really or at least it wasn’t the heart clearing kind.
One day a few years back, I was saying the Lord’s Prayer, and I suppose actually paying attention that particular day to what I was praying for. There are 2 lines in the prayer that made me sit up and pay attention as I was saying them.
It was a light bulb came on as I realized what I was asking in my prayer. The very same prayer I had already prayed thousands of times. In Bill language, I was praying asking to be forgiven of my sins, in the same manner I was forgiving others here on this earth. I thought of that and realized, Oh geesh, this can’t be good, not with all this negativity and ill will I am carrying in my heart. I renewed my heart clearing efforts with more effort than ever before. I struggled and it even reached the point where I actually dropped that on line our of my prayers: As I forgive those that trespass against me. If I am unable to forgive others then, how in the world can I be praying for God to forgive me in that same way. That made no sense at all.
The separate the deed from the doer idea is one I have had for a long time, but really never understood it enough to put it into practice. I mean if someone does you a “nasty” it is their responsibility surely. Some how, I began though to put that together with my “Bill Statics” 90% of people are just regular good people, 5% are Earth Angels and 5% are jerks. Most importantly for me, I realized there are no real clear and permanent divisions between these groups. We are all constantly drifting back and forth between these groups. Yes, I am sure or at least I hope trying our best to avoid the jerk category. But, we are human and depending on the event, circumstance or what ever will find ourselves in the jerk category. It seems the real trick is to not allow ourselves to stay there. Yes, I have and do spend my share maybe even more than my share of time in the “jerk” category.
I am struggling to find the words for this. I have always believed in the overall goodness and kindness within all people but know we each have our moments out of the sun shall we say. We each have our own battles within our own lives. We each react to a situation or circumstance in our own way depending on where we are in our day or even in our lives. We are doing our best to deal with the struggles we face. In the past I know there have been situations or events where others acted or reacted in a way different from what I wanted or maybe expected. It is that action or reaction that hurt or offended me. Possibly he/she was having their moment in the jerk zone, or possibly it was me being there.
Forgiveness is not for others, it is for ourselves. To clear our hearts to enable us to live our lives to the fullest. To forgive another does not mean you have to invite the person back into your life or even have anything to do with them going forward. Forgiveness is letting go of destructive negativity, clear our hearts, living the good life.
A question to all that regularly say the Lord’s Prayer. What are your thoughts on this. A question to those of other faiths, what do you think of this?
My revelation last night. Somewhere along the line, I have reinserted the as I forgive line. Obviously back to the saying it without appropriate thought, have to really work on that.