Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Taking the High Road

Taking the high road is never easy. I'm not sure what "taking the high road" means to others, but for me it means asking and extending forgiveness even when I have not been the one in the wrong. I can best illustrate this by telling a story about an experience I had one time with my father. Although I'm using only one incident, this is something I have repeated many times throughout my life in my relationships with others. The result has always been good.

Let me tell you a story of what happened after I had already been living on my own for several years. Through a series of circumstances, a good friend of mine ended up with a box of tools that belonged to my father. One day when I was home, he confronted me with accusations against my friend. I felt those accusations were totally unfounded and blew up at my dad, yelled at him and told him what I thought about what he had just said. I think that was probably the first time I had ever said anything disrespectful to my father to his face. (I'm sure I rehearsed many disrespectful dialogues in my mind, but had never dared to voice them out loud.)

I stormed off in a huff and as I began to cool off, the Holy Spirit began to say, "Now go back and ask your father to forgive you." I argued with the Lord, "No, he's the one who needs to ask for forgiveness. He's the one who started this." Again came the Holy Spirit's prodding, "Ask him to forgive you and you forgive him." After arguing for awhile, I went back downstairs and asked his forgiveness. He, of course, asked me to forgive him also. And soon all was set right. The box of tools was returned and my relationship with my father was re-established on a firm foundation of respect and love.

Many, many years later, I found a little book that talks about this very principle. It's called, "You Don't Have to be Wrong to Repent." It is one of the most important principles that affects relationships, but it requires humility and guts to actually do it. The benefits to you are enormous. Nothing affects health as much as having peace or the lack of it, in all your relationships. I have found that when I am not at peace in a particular relationship, it takes a tremendous amount of emotional energy and that affects my ability to sleep, my immune system and ultimately my health.

I highly recommend keeping your repentance and forgiveness ready to put into action.