Spring is my favorite time of the year. I love the smell of fresh flowers, the warmth of the sun greeting each new day, and the joy of new beginnings found in nature all around me. In the spring, I feel as if I can do almost anything. It is a time to forget the past, leave winter behind, and look forward to the future with renewed energy.
Today becomes the by-word. Yesterday is gone, and I cannot change it. Tomorrow is only a dream, not even a promise, but today, today is mine. Today I can start the diet, write a letter, send a postcard to a friend, or take my granddaughter to lunch. Today I can put into motion all those marvelous ‘what-ifs’ niggling in the outer edges of my mind. Today I start again.
Spring is a time for forgiveness and change. Beginning again implies we failed the first time and maybe a second, third, or more. But, in the spring, we forget all that and look forward to a renewed hope. The possibilities are endless.
To harness all the power of this season requires a deep resolution on my part. I must be willing to put the past behind me, forgive myself and anyone else involved in my failures, and look forward. Doing this is not always easy for our frail human nature. Jesus is the ultimate example of forgiveness. He forgave me, and he has forgiven millions of others for horrible deeds.
If Jesus can withstand the indignity of the cross and continue to love us, why do we have such a hard time forgiving ourselves and each other?
Un-forgiveness is the acid that eats our hopes away. How can we expect to move forward if we are chained to the past by hatred and un-forgiveness? People that master the art of forgiving can have a positive impact anywhere. Those who harbor grudges, refusing to see the other person’s perspective, live in anger, hate, and resentment that will, by its very nature, destroy them.
Learning to live a life of mercy isn’t easy. It brings pain and struggle. People hurt us both intentionally and unintentionally. We must remember that they and only they will account to God for their actions. We will account for our own. When we trust God to keep score, our minds are free to do other things. We can concentrate on the essential things in life with fewer lines and wrinkles.
While learning the art of forgiving others, we must remember to forgive ourselves. We all make mistakes, live with regrets, and hurt others. We fail, grow weary, and are undependable at times, but we must accept these weaknesses, strive to overcome them, and move forward.
Forgiveness brings change. By choosing to forgive, we choose life and set in motion all those lovely things found on a beautiful spring day.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz has been a Christian since she and her husband, Pastor Michael Schuetz gave their hearts to God on November 15, 1978. They have ministered together since 1989 and together they have pastored seven different churches. Sharon was the senior pastor of their first church while Michael served as co-pastor. In the other churches, Michael served as senior pastor and Sharon his co-pastor. She has been licensed to counsel through the National Christian Counselors Association in Sarasota, FL since 1993.