The Forgiving Tree

Embracing our seed sounds easier for some than it does for others.  How do you embrace your environment when it’s filled with emotional neglect? physical abuse? a push toward perfectionism?  lies? shame? Most of us struggle with our environment in a way that has shaped or ability or inability to trust, to connect with others, to believe in God.  To embrace means to willingly accept. How do you willingly accept the shadows of hurt that left a lasting imprint in your trunk, or that tangled your roots?

Trees-once planted and grown into maturity–are very forgiving.  They are forgiving of the elements that daily surround them.  The cactus, for example, needs little water to survive.  God knew this and planted them in deserts. He knew that a cactus would be forgiving of days and months without rain.  God knew.

Likewise, God planted you in the same way.  He knew your capacity for forgiveness, and that you, right where he planted you, would be able to be forgiving of your environment.  The Lord never desires for us to live in bondage to unforgiveness.  Unforgiveness leaves us sarcastic, and hard-hearted.  It leaves us irritable and easily frustrated.  Unforgiveness can choke the very roots that keep us nourished and firm and withstanding.  Slowly cutting us off from much needed nourishment like that found in relationships, or living water found only in Christ.  

To willingly accept our beginnings, we must choose to forgive.  Forgive our mother for her critical spirit, because God didn’t want her growing up hating herself the way she did.  Forgive your father for being so disconnected because the Lord never wanted his dad to tell him that boys don’t cry. Forgive your sister for the jealousy that’s between you, because God never intended for your sisterhood to be tainted by competition.   Forgive yourself for not being more or better or smarter or faster because God made you wonderful in the skin you are in.  

Forgiveness is a choice. It is an act of obedience to the One who forgave everything we’ve ever done, even while we  were still sinners. Jesus understood.  He chose to climb the hill to his unjust death.  He chose to bear the weight of the burdens of the environment you were planted in.  Through his choice to forgive you he calmed the wind, steadied the storm, drenched the dry cracked earth. 

 The choice to forgive doesn’t always feel good, it isn’t always easy, and you may have to forgive the same person…more than once….for the same thing.  Much like the Lord forgives you …more than once…for the same thing.  You pray, Lord, please align my emotions with my choice to forgive.  I can’t control how I feel but I CAN control my obedience to you.  I choose to forgive.  

You take the step of faith, believing in the work of the cross, confident that through forgiveness, given and received, you can withstand the wind, the rain, the drought, and embrace your seed. That by letting go of hurts of the past, the disappointments of your life, the uninvited pain– you allow yourself to be deeply rooted, absorbing living water, through the very vessels God has provided for you. Becoming a forgiving tree allows you to shed the unwanted, dead leaves that weigh you down, that stop you from growing new and green, strong and tall. Becoming a forgiving tree allows you to become more and more nourished by the One who hung on the cross–  the Ultmate Forgiving Tree.

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4 thoughts on “The Forgiving Tree

  1. I want to thank you for your posting here. Our Catholic Parish in Dardanup (in the South West of Western Australia), decided this year to have a forgiveness tree in the church for this Lenten season. Everyone was invited to give up a hurt for lent and write it on an card, which could be placed in an envelope and hung on the tree as a symbol of our intention to let go of this pain or hurt, and offer forgiveness. This has been an overwhelming success, with people for outside of the church, coming in specifically to hang their hurts up on this tree.

    Today is Holy Saturday, and tonight the mass of envelopes and the tree ill be consumed in our Easter Fire, symbolising the permanence of Our Lord’s forgiveness.

    Each week through Lent, an excerpt from your blog post has been placed in our Parish Newsletter (hope that’s OK by you), as a reflection on the forgiveness God calls us to offer.

    As an occasional blogger myself, I thought you might like to know how your thoughts and words, have affected people on the other side of the world.

    Thank you.

    1. Thank you Anthony for your encouragement! God is so big and huge, and his kingdom is without walls! Praise Him! I pray that your Forgiveness Tree is a blessing to all of those you lead!

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