Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Write the Forgiveness Cheque - Kathleen Gibson
“Now, Smoky,” I told her. “Don’t get comfortable. Tomorrow you’re going to live on the next block.”
As I carried the newcomer into my office, His Grace hovered nearby, sniffing. Suddenly, his fur pointed ceiling-ward and he began growling like a dog. Then came hisses and darting paw strikes, razor sharp claws outstretched. His theatrics convinced me that in his mind, I had delivered the penultimate betrayal of our relationship.
Picking up the petrified Smoky, I pushed my own cat from the room and slammed the door. For an hour we sat in my green prayer chair, getting over it while Grace paced the hall, still growling. Finally the Preacher took pity on us all and banished him to the basement.
Smoky went to live with the Beans the next day, but Grace Cat nurtured a grudge against me for days, maybe even a week. He didn’t mind the Preacher, but me? Oh, no. He had seen me carry in the kitten. In his mind, I had violated the terms of our relationship, and he couldn’t get past it.
For my part, I barely recognized the previously friendly pet I thought I knew so well. His tiger stripes run deeper than his fur, I learned. Whenever I neared him, he slapped my feet, clawed my legs, attacked my hands. When I made the mistake of trying to cuddle him, he bit my cheek.
“I can’t live with a cat that hates me,” I told the Preacher. “Off to the farm with you,” I told Grace. More than once.
But I decided instead to get some advice from online cat-experts and to follow it. I spent extra time with my tiger. Enticed him to twice-daily play periods, using his favourite toys and treats. Talked to him frequently. Didn’t try to pet him or pick him up unless he approached me.
It took awhile, but eventually the old Grace Cat emerged from his angry, betrayed place – energetic, playful and affectionate – with only his usual touch of spice. He trusts me again, and I have forgiven him for the injuries. We’re at peace once more.
Every relationship carries the potential for nasty surprises. Most benefit from seeking and following wise counsel. But surviving a betrayal takes the most essential element of all – total forgiveness.
In a prayer seminar I attended, the leader, Dr. T.V. Thomas, made a statement that impacted me deeply. He said that he keeps in his heart a signed cheque made out for total forgiveness. No matter the injury, no matter the perpetrator. Why? Because Jesus himself said that until we forgive others, God can’t forgive us. (Matthew 18:35)
Who do you need to forgive? Got a name? Write the cheque.
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