by Tom (“we’ll leave the light on for you”) Bodett; As heard on American Public Media’ s Weekend America December 31, 2005. (NOTE: This piece was written for an end of the year broadcast, but I just ran across it and did not want to wait three months to use it. It will work anytime)
It’s the end of another year and time for a little ritual I call, “Forgiveness.” There’s no gain in carrying over resentments from one year into the next. I’m sure there’s more where these came from. So, why don’t we let each other off the hook for all our little transgressions right here and now? I’ll start.
At a quiet movie last month you sat behind us eating what sounded like raw barley that you’d brought from home in a crinkly sack. You were oblivious to our body language and we had to move. We still talk about you. But that ends here. Forget about it.
In turn, I should confess to you that we were the couple with the baby on your all-night flight to Madrid. I admit that could have gone better. Can we let it go now?
You were rooting around for a cigarette or a CD or something in your console and didn’t notice the light had turned green for one whole cycle. Everybody behind you wanted you dead. But, we’re over it.
You were eating cookies while you worked on your Christmas cards this year, weren’t you? I could see the little crumbs stuck to the edges of the glue seam on the envelope. I forgive you, because you weren’t even on our list until we got your card.
You asked me for directions in an unidentifiable foreign accent and I talked to you as if you were an idiot with a hearing impairment. Sorry.
Your dog is obnoxious.
I drive a bigger car than I really need.
I’ve known you for years and couldn’t remember your name when I ran into you at that party. I tried to cover it up by being friendlier than the situation called for. That’s behind us now, right?
You will forget my name even though I was just in your store yesterday and bought two thousand dollars worth of plumbing fixtures.
You put me on hold in order to finish a conversation with your girlfriend. It’s okay.
I told you we were out of town the weekend of your daughter’s birthday party and then you saw us at the video store that evening.
You took too long at the ATM.
Remember that busy street where you had sat waiting for a left turn for seven full minutes? I was the pedestrian who ambled across the intersection at the critical moment and you had to wait another eight minutes for traffic to clear.
You always tell me what your cats have been up to. I punish you by showing you pictures of my children. Can we stop this madness?
The truth is we’re all pretty darn annoying. Just not about the same things and, thank goodness, not on the same days. So, in the spirit of the holidays and a brand spanking New Year. I forgive you if you’ll forgive me.
Are we square now?
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Ephesians 4:2 — Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:31-32 — Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Matthew 7:1-5 — (Jesus said), “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. –Jesus