Recently as part of a women's retreat, we were given the assignment to walk around the garden on the grounds. There were six appointed "Stopping Points" where we were invited to stop to reflect upon a scripture. For several weeks, I had been wrestling with a question: "Why did it take so long for me to figure out what the next step was? Why did it seem like I was in the dark about the direction to take?"
At the fifth stop, this was the scripture we were given to contemplate:
1 John 2:11 Living Bible (TLB)
11 For he who dislikes his brother is wandering in spiritual darkness and doesn’t know where he is going, for the darkness has made him blind so that he cannot see the way.
The commentary that went along with this scripture asked us to consider if we had any bitterness or anger towards anyone. And then to forgive.
With that, I realized I had my answer.
A different way to approach divine guidance
I realized in that moment that when I am looking for divine guidance, I usually spend a lot of time asking questions like "Which path should I take?" "What are you asking me to do, God?" and "What's the next step to fulfill my calling?"
But there in the garden, I realized that a better question might be "Who am I now ready to forgive?" or "Where is my heart still hurting?"
It is not my ignorance that keeps me from seeing the next step, but the wound that is still unhealed that is blocking my sight.
The pathway to healing
I'm not a big fan of "confessions." When I'm finally ready to forgive someone or to seek forgiveness about an incident that happened some time ago, I don't think it does much good to go to the person involved and rehash the past.
What I do think is helpful is to re-establish relationship with the other person in ways that transcend old patterns and hurts. It's hard to stay angry at someone with whom you are sharing fajitas on the patio. Or working together on a quilt. Or building a house for Habitat.
If you're really ready to heal, pull out the stops and get creative. That burst of energy will not only propel your relationship forward, it will open up your sight to the next step on your journey.
What is the incident or person who is calling to you: "The time has come to forgive"?
What is a wound from your past that keeps you from seeing clearly?
How can you open up your heart to receive healing?