I love good seafood. I always have. Dan isn’t much of a fish eater but for the first few years of our marriage he would enjoy a nice piece of salmon. I considered it a fair compromise and I worked that into a once and awhile meal.
I’m going to guess it was around six to seven years ago, Dan and I walked into a grocery store and they were having a sale on salmon. It looked good to both of us so we bought dinner and went home to cook it. We savored our meal, and thought all was fine. We’d had plans to attend a church dinner the next day and I went about making the desserts I needed to make and all seemed well. Until that night, I woke up sicker than sick. I was puking everywhere. I figured it was just me and I must be fighting something so I did what I had to do, and was trying to take care of myself. Fortunately because at the moment Dan wasn’t sick he took care of our oldest daughter for me. I spent four hours plus huddled in the bathroom. I wasn’t just a little sick, I was violently ill. At about the time I started to get better, it hit Dan. Needless to say we didn’t end up attending the church dinner. We were sure that salmon had to have been bad, and we reaped the repercussions of it.
For years neither of us ever wanted to see a piece of salmon again. Didn’t desire it, and certainly didn’t want to look at it. It took me years to forget how sick we’d been. Just recently we both started eating it again.
The way Dan and I treated salmon is a lot like people treat each other. Maybe there is an altercation. Someone offended the other; most likely the feeling is mutual. It’s hard to forget when someone hurts you so deeply. It’s hard to move forward after it’s said and done, and it’s easy to just avoid the whole situation by not even wanting to see the person. It brings up the feelings you’d rather not remember. It takes a lot of maturity to learn to move forward from that place.
1 Corinthians 13:3-5 in the Message Bible says, “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”
Love doesn’t keep score. That means it forgets the past. To be a mature believer you have to let go of what people do to you. You have to make the choice to continue to move forward no matter what the situation. Now that doesn’t mean you keep opening yourself up for physical pain, but what I’m saying is that you make the choice to believe the best in people. Put your awkward, head bobbing feelings aside and choose to love them.
Matthew 18:21-22 says, “At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?" Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.”
Unity isn’t something that is obtained once and then it’s there. It’s a constant choice. It’s a constant choice that God put you in this situation together and you are going to work together and love each other no matter what. It’s the constant choice that no matter what has been said and done so and so is my brother and/or sister in the Lord and I’m going to have their back even if two minutes ago I wanted to smack them.
The term forgive and forget used to really mess with me. I was like forgive yes, but how can one ever forget the situation. It almost brought me condemnation because I remembered what had happened and thought that I was still holding bitterness. Finally the Lord spoke to me and shared with me that forgetting means that you forget the emotions around it. Real forgiveness means every time you see the person the same pain and feelings don’t rise up on the inside of you. It’s a process, which has to be worked through.
I’ve learned how to “forgive” and enjoy salmon again. It’s not all salmon’s fault that one piece made me violently sick six years ago. It was time I let my distaste go for the fish. Don’t you think that maybe there are people you’ve done the same thing to? Did someone hurt you and ever since you’ve had an aversion to them? I can hear many reading this saying, “But you don’t know what they did to me?” You’re right I don’t, but God does. Let Him deal with the person.
You have to let it go, and move forward. You have to be at peace with them, and stop avoiding them. Avoiding the situation just makes it worse. Choose to be at peace today. Choose to “forget” what happened. I figure if Jesus could look out over all those people who brutally betrayed Him and physically tortured Him at the cross and forgive them, then who am I to hold onto my issues? Hope I gave you something to think about because it’s getting to be lunch time soon and I have a piece of left over salmon from dinner last night waiting to be enjoyed. Be blessed all, God loves you and so do I.