Sunday, August 31, 2008

Forgiveness Trumps All Dysfunction & Ignorance!

Within the past 24 hours, I have returned home from the funeral of an American hero that had served 3 tours within the Vietnam War.  His obituary was heavily weighed of his military experience and ability to return home supposedly in one piece.  But through direct and indirect conversations and observations without judgment of anyone individual, there were battles, wars, decisions, and indecisions on multiple levels that focused on the wrong enemy altogether.

The family of the immediate household as well as the extended family of the deceased soldier consistently believed that the wife and children were mistreated harshly.  It was not until a minister who had himself served in a military capacity within a different war spoke that it began to dawn on me that the US government had placed soldiers in harm's way while not providing the resources for the soldiers' safe return to civilian life.  The number of divorces, broken homes, alcoholism, drug use, and even horrific, antisocial crimes can be attributed to wars being collectively and individually fought at the wrong time, place, and upon the wrong target.  The real tragedy is that the same logic and methods of operating have continued the downward trend versus changing course when it comes to American veterans.

There are veterans that have indeed returned to productive lifestyles, and positions of leadership, influence, and honor nationwide but for the military might that was so visibly recorded, documented, and put on display to wage war and deter other wars and conflicts from taking place, the amount of acceptable, domestic collateral damage has been far too high.  The lack of post war support simply indicates that like the victims of Hurricane Katrina, there was no governmental sense of urgency to mount a rescue for American citizens unconditionally when the moment of truth had arrived.

In spite of the lack of efforts to provide substantial support, it is going to be even more important for all veterans and their families and friends to be able to practice forgiveness at a level than ever before imaginable.  Although this can be misinterpreted as blaming the victim, the reality is that all of us within the United States and worldwide have in our possession some form of post tramatic stress syndrome to some degree or another.  Our ability or inability to forgive is the critical key to our exchanging being a victim to one of victory.

Historically within the progression of the United States' march to global and cultural sophistication, earlier generations down to the grandparents of Generation X have found it easier to pass forward their understanding of parenthood versus challenging the status quo.  The parents of Generation X appear to be first generation that may have had the sense of awareness to actually question whether they themselves were raised with love and nurturing concern to address the child's individual needs versus assuming that raising all children in the same manner was fair, equitable, and the right course of action for each specific child.

But many Baby Boomers have uniquely taken a path of parenthood that has aggressively weakened their children and future descendants in a manner that essentially is impossible for Generation X and later generations to duplicate.  These parents have swung to the extreme, opposite end of the parental spectrum to provide no restraint and degree of discipline in lavishly showering their children with almost every material possession imagined and placed on the open market for consumer consumption.

As a result, members of the Millennial Generation and children of such parents are themselves found in two extremes.  One extreme is where the child has an unlimited amount of confidence that will lead to the production of constructive changes within American society unimaginable worldwide.  Within the remaining extreme, the proverbial wings have been savagely clipped and dysfunction is spread and poured unmercilessly.  What is the recurring thread and solution within the generations mentioned and those to come?  The answer is found within the biblical concept of forgiveness.

Upon the cross, Christ Jesus is quoted within Luke 23:34 as saying "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do".  In John 8:7, Christ is quoted as saying, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."  The ability to forgive is the ability to avoid and heal cancer both literally and figuratively.  The capacity of forgiveness is found within the power of letting go.  We have to let go of our past and present in order to only take the good into our future.

There are situations where the good of the past can become the shackles and handcuffs of the present and future just as much as being a prisoner of someone else's war can bind one to the depths and despair without any logic and reason.  Therefore, we have to extract only the good and the essential lessons that are found within any situation and apply the necessary amount of overwhelming forgiveness and love to move forward to a positive future.

As I write this, I earlier today had to release multiple items within my wardrobe since my current weight has determined that there were idle, unworn clothes too large for me to currently wear and especially feel comfortable wearing.  Believe me, there were some items that represented a battle within my own mind in that they should have been forgiven for wearing down and out as well as possibly providing an upgrade for someone to fashionably wear.  The clothes will be donated to the nearest Goodwill store and there are items that are not able to positively represent my current weight, mindset, and belief system.  My wife will assuredly go on to say that some of these items have been out of style for decades possibly and the glory days in which they were worn shall never return:)

The point of this downsizing of wardrobe items is that we must actively, aggressively, and repeatedly release the past in order to experience a more glorious and desirable future.  Otherwise, we can only reproduce the past through intentional and unintentional means.

We know how to fight the wrong wars by continually passing on to future generations the sickness, disease, and dysfunction that serve no one comfortably although some have said directly and indirectly through their actions and inactions that they love dysfunction more than function.  The greater tragedy of these wrong wars is the compounded, dysfunctional belief or myth that these wars can and should be actually won without further detriment and endangerment of everyone involved.

Still forgiveness is the key to moving forward to a productive and satisfying future.  Forgiveness is the ability to exchange evil for good, captivity and slavery for freedom, hunger and thirst for an appetite quenched and satisfied, and loss and defeat for victory.  It takes forgiveness as well as the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to realize that the people that have produced the environments, situations, and crises of negativity and lack within our lives were simply doing THE BEST THAT THEY COULD DO.  It takes God living and moving within our lives for us to believe, see, do, and have the right things in the right way at the right time and for the right reasons.  Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat the past for failing to learn from it.

Just as the Lord's prayer petitions God for our daily bread, we must release, relieve, and remove the molded bread of the past and only use the penicillin that is present to heal and distribute health today and in our futures.

Not at any point am I indicating that forgiveness will be easy.  But through the Holy Spirit, we shall have the awareness and empowerment that only forgiveness has the capability of overcoming the decay and death that people unknowingly throw in our direction.

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