Forgive Well to Live Well. Meet Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.

Patrick was a wild youth in England when raiders invaded and took Patrick to Ireland as a slave. Years later, Patrick escaped, reunited with family, and became a priest. But Ireland called in his dreams and he returned. The people of Ireland thought Patrick came for revenge. Instead, Patrick traveled the Emerald Isle telling his former captors their lives could be different.

Superpower

Reacting out of bruised feelings hurts those we most love. It’s an emotional Hatfields and McCoys when you are hurt so you hurt others who are hurt so they hurt you back.

Patrick understood there is no path around, over, or under the pain of having been deeply wronged. He knew forgiveness is the fastest way out of the life-draining, soul-sucking emotional vampire known as bitterness.

Forgiveness is not blind injustice. Never does forgiveness condone the actions of the person who hurt you. Forgiveness doesn’t release an offender from the consequences of his or her actions.

Forgiveness is healthy boundaries. Forgiveness is not remaining in an abusive relationship. Forgiveness never tolerates abuse, addictions, or affairs.

Forgiveness is our choice. Most people who offend you will never ask for forgiveness. Our offender has no power over our choices. We give forgiveness with no expectations of the receiver.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. Experiences are chemically burned into our memories. Forgiveness prevents the abuser from having power over you and frees you from being sabotaged by the past.

Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation. Forgiveness takes only one person. Reconciliation requires both sides. Reconciliation is not wise when emotional or physical safety is at risk.

Forgiveness is not a feeling. Like love, forgiveness is an action. You can act in a forgiving manner even when you do not feel like forgiving. Forgiveness is a courageous act of strength.

Forgiveness is not a magic wand. Those who forgive difficult spouses, parents, or children are not promised ideal relationships in the future. A challenging person frequently continues to stir friction.

Forgiveness is a lifestyle. Often the more grievous the offense, the more time required to experience forgiveness. Though easier to demand another person change, the only person you can truly affect for change is yourself.

Change can occur in a heartbeat.

Patrick’s extreme forgiveness of the people who had most harmed him had a deep impact on the Irish. The nation embraced Christ as Savior.

On March 17, we celebrate Saint Patrick’s world-changing example of living well by forgiving well.

History buff, and tropical island votary PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, Wells is the bestselling author of twenty-eight books including The Slave Across the Street, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise.

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

 

Our annual church Christmas pageant gave me the impression the humble barn where Jesus was born was a quiet setting. The Nativity scene was the crowning moment of each extravaganza. Dressed in bed sheets and their fathers’ bathrobes, the children sang Silent Night.

Then I moved to the country, got a barn, and had my own birth in the stable.

Drought forced a farmer to sell a soft-eyed, pregnant mare.
 “She’s like Mary,” my teens implored. “She needs a place to have her baby.”

So this innkeeper found room in our stable. A baby monitor let us hear what happened in the barn at night. Birds in the rafters supplied a cacophony of twittering and mice scampered through hay. Once asleep, the horses passed gas so loud we thought the mare was giving birth, and dashed to the barn at 3:30 a.m.

Following weeks of false alarms, the baby was born on a night I was too sleep-deprived to tiptoe to the barn. What an exquisite wonder that morning to discover a newborn in the stable.

That’s why this year’s Christmas pageant is my favorite. “Let’s have live animals,” the music director crowed.

Opening night staging was elaborate. “Joy to the world,” the audience joined the choir as words appeared on the overhead. “Let men their sons employ.”

Choreographed to mask the noisy rearrangement of animals on stage, the pianist’s solo was a wasted effort. The keyboard was unplugged. From behind the curtains, the audience heard the trainer smooching at the donkey who was reluctant to come on stage and more reluctant to leave. The wise men bowed before the wailing Christ child. Mary and Joseph tried to look holy while goats nibbled their robes.

Suddenly, a runaway sheep dashed about the little town of Bethlehem. Engrossed by the drama, the drummer forgot to drum. The conductor looked up and paled as the speeding sheep fairly leapt into his arms.

By the second performance the “g” was added to sons, the keyboard found the plug, and fencing was added for the sheep. The rest of the pageants were without hitch, but my favorite was opening night. It seemed a better reenactment of what probably happened years ago in that starlit stable.

PeggySue Wells has two horses (because horses are like potato chips and your can’t have just one). She is the bestselling author of 28 books including Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise. Connect with PeggySue and find her books at www.PeggySueWells.com.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinrssyoutube