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St. Patrick’s Day is All About Forgiveness

St. Patrick’s Day, beyond the largest party in Savanna, fountain waters dyed emerald, the wearing of the green, shamrocks, and Guinness merchandise, is a timeless tale about forgiveness in the real life of St. Patrick.

Patrick was a wild youth growing up in England when raiders invaded his hometown, destroyed homes and families, and kidnapped Patrick. The boy was taken to Ireland as a slave. Much like Joseph of the Old Testament, while in captivity Patrick dedicated his life to the Lord.

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. ~ Maya Angelou

St. Patrick Is Reunited With Family

Years later, Patrick escaped, made the long trek to the coast, and talked his way onto a ship bound for England. Back at home he reunited with his family and studied to become a priest. But in his dreams, Ireland called to him. Through the eyes of his relationship with God, Patrick could see the deep heart needs of his captors. Much to the dismay of his parents, he returned to the Emerald Isle.

When Patrick arrived on the island, the king and the people of Ireland, believed he had returned for revenge. Why else would Patrick have come?

Legend has it that there was a showdown between Patrick and the king’s magician — something along the line of Moses and Pharaoh. The magician tried to intimidate through his black magic and superstition. Patrick demonstrated that his God was the one true God, and more powerful than the pagan gods the Irish traditionally worshipped.

With the approval of the king, Patrick traveled the nation to share the Gospel with the Irish people.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

St. Patrick Gave Forgiveness

Patrick knew first hand there is no path around, over, or under the pain of having been deeply wronged. He understood that surrendering to forgiveness is the fastest way out of the life-draining, soul-sucking clutches of this emotional vampire known as depression. A resistance to forgive extends our time in the pit.

Reacting out of bruised feelings only hurts those we most love. That cycle is an emotional Hatfields and McCoys as you are hurt so you hurt others who are hurt so they hurt you back. In the Greek, forgiveness means to release or free oneself from something that ensnares. An offense is like the bait stick of a trap. The only way out of the trap is through forgiveness.

Whether hurts and offenses make us or break us depends on how we respond. The topic of forgiveness triggers strong emotional responses. People get aggressive, agitated, apologetic, and defensive.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~ Mark Twain

Forgiveness Is A Superpower

Forgiveness is a superpower. Having little to do with the other person and everything to do with us, forgiveness makes possible the hope-filled future you want for you and your children.

To better understand, let’s clarify what forgiveness is and what forgiveness is not.

Forgiveness is not blind injustice. 

Never does forgiveness condone the actions of the person who hurt you nor stamp what happened as acceptable. Forgiveness never tolerates abuse nor gives the offender permission to continue hurting you or others. Nor does forgiveness allow a serial murderer to go free to kill again or release an offender from the consequences of his or her actions.

Forgiveness is healthy boundaries. 

Remaining in an abusive marriage or allowing our child to spend unsupervised time with a relative who is a child molester is not forgiveness. It is not excusing a spouse’s abuse, addictions, or affairs.

Forgiveness is our choice. 

Not dependent on circumstances or another person, when we choose to forgive, that person no longer defines who we are. No longer ladies-in-waiting, we need never wait for, “I am sorry. Will you forgive me?” Most people who offend you will never ask for forgiveness. Our offender has no power over our choices. We can choose to forgive because we have been forgiven.

Forgiveness is supernatural. 

Seeking revenge is a natural human response. Forgiveness has nothing to do with being logical or fair. Derived from the word gift, we give forgiveness with no expectations of the receiver. Forgiveness of grievous life-changing offenses does not make sense to the world.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. 

Experiences are chemically burned into our memories. Forgiveness does not erase the past, but allows you to remember and deal with it.

Forgiveness heals the forgiver. 

While you may think forgiveness is a gift you give to the one who hurt you, surprisingly, it is a grand contribution we give ourselves and our children. You transfer the debt the offender owes you to God. Then let God deal with it. Forgiveness prevents the abuser from having power over you and frees you from being sabotaged by the past. In this freedom, you can be a balanced, cheerful member of society.

Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation. 

Forgiveness takes only one person. Reconciliation is about both parties and requires movement from both sides. While many forgivers experience this full circle of restoration, many do not. We can choose to forgive our offender. Reconciliation requires action from the other person. 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. You can stop seeking revenge. Choosing to forgive, putting closure to the event, transcends and eventually calms rollercoaster feelings. Forgiveness is not dependent on emotionsRather than a sign of weakness, 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. 

It takes time to heal. Often the more grievous the offense, the more time is required to experience forgiveness. Forgiveness must be taught and practiced. The most content people have lives characterized by a continual attitude of forgiveness and being prepared to forgive. Forgiveness spills over and graces all relationships. Forgiveness is something everyone will have opportunity to experience.

“As long as we are breathing, we will be offended and we will offend.” — Jackie Kendall

Unintentional offenses happen merely because we are human. Selfishness is the root of many offenses. Other offenses victimize another; they are premeditated, deliberate, and stem from evil intent. Some offenses are easier to forgive than others. Everyone will encounter situations that can only be resolved through forgiveness.

In Free Yourself to Love, Jackie Kendall identifies six reasons we don’t forgive:

1. We feel the offense was too great to be forgiven.

2. The offense is a repeated offense.

3. We struggle with the memories of the offense.

4. We want the offender to be sorry, to pay for what was done.

5. The offender never apologized.

6. We are too angry to consider forgiving.[i]

Forgiveness Equals Freedom

Forgiveness is the key that turns the lock to personal change granting the freedom to again dream, love, and live passionately. The truth we resist is that we are powerless to change another person. We cannot cause another to feel remorse. We cannot manipulate that person to feel or behave differently. Trust me, I tried.

The only person you can truly affect for change is yourself. It’s easier to demand that the other person change because changing your own patterns, attitude, and behavior can be a personal herculean effort.

Or change can occur in a heartbeat. Change happens when a person chooses to forgive.

Change can occur in a heartbeat.

Patrick’s forgiveness of the people who had most harmed him had a deep impact on the Irish. The nation embraced Christ as Savior. All because a man named Patrick surrendered to God, practiced extreme forgiveness, and told others that their lives could be different through Jesus Christ.

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

Did someone say corned beef and cabbage?

[i] From Jackie Kendall, Free Yourself to Love, chapters 4–8.

Baked Cabbage

My favorite way to make cabbage.

Slice cabbage into one-inch slices
Brush with olive oil
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, caraway, garlic and/or other favorite spices
Place on baking sheet greased with olive oil
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until slightly browned

Three Easy Ways to Cook Corned Beef and Vegetables

Corned beef is done when it shreds easily. Vegetables are done when soft enough to fork.

Easy Baked Corned Beef

Line a baking dish with foil. Add corned beef, seasonings, and enough water to cover the bottom. Seal with a top sheet of foil. Bake at 275 degrees for six hours. Add carrots and potatoes for the last two hours. Add cabbage for the final hour.

Crock Pot Corned Beef

Place corned beef fat side up in crock pot. Add spices. Cover with water. Cook on low for eight hours. At four hours add carrots and potatoes. Add cabbage for the final two hours.

Stovetop Corned Beef

In a large pot, place corned beef fat side up, add spices and water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for three hours. Add carrots, potatoes, and cabbage and simmer 30 minutes more.

For additional holiday traditions, get a copy of What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Say To Your Own Family

Read Homeless for the Holidays

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Chasing Sunrise by P.S. Wells

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Meet PeggySue

We’ve heard of soccer moms and stage mothers. I’m a writer who trailers my kids and horses across the nation. My Apple computer, fondly christened MacBeth, is the essential I bring along.