I’ve had many plumbing problems in our home. It started with the dishwasher. Our dishes were no longer getting as clean as they once had and then the dishwasher started leaking water through the sides of the door all over our kitchen floor and down into our basement. I started investigating this problem and assumed it was a plugged drain line. After removing various plumping parts I did not find any plugs. Next, to the door seal. It must be that the seal is failing, right? After cleaning the seal, the problem continued. Next on to the drain in the dishwasher. Nope, that wasn’t plugged. I then noticed that the drain pump under the dishwasher was getting hot and making some strange noises. It wasn’t all the time which made things a bit confusing. So, I found a replacement pump and noticed that the description stated that it was a fix for overflowing dishwashers. After taking the dishwasher out, removing and replacing the pump, and re-assembly. All was good and dishes were once again clean.
Fast forward 3 weeks and we had more water on the floor. This time from an erupting toilet. One morning, after a shower and flushing the upstairs toilet, my wife yelled that she was seeing water flowing all over the floor. This time, it was bubbling over from the toilet on our first floor. More water on the floor and in the basement. So much water was flowing that I had to get out a shop vac to pick up all the standing water. Any time we would send water down drains in the home the main floor toilet would overflow. Once again, on to investigating the problem. I took apart various plumbing parts, bought tools to clear plugs, and took things apart. With nothing working, I had to call a professional because the plugged sewer line was outside of our home. The company wasn’t able to help until the next day which meant we were unable to use any plumbing in our home. The next day a company arrived to run a special cutting tool through the sewer line which resulted in pulling out 3 feet of tree roots that were plugging the line. These came from a river birch that found a highly nutritious water source through cracks in the sewer pipe. No wonder the tree has been so healthy. For the time being, until we do a permanent fix, we have working drains.
Why do I tell you these stories that are so crappy (pun intended)? Because I see this happen so often in my own life. Ok, I’m not talking about the physical drainage system in my body. Rather, I’m talking about the importance of having a way to rid ourselves of the mental and emotional trash in our systems. One of the most effective ways for this to happen is through forgiveness.
Regularly practicing forgiveness for yourself and others allows the trash in your heart and mind to be drained away. Guilt, shame, hurt, and pain are jettisoned from your system which allows your true self to be light and whole. It also equips you to handle additional challenging circumstances, relationship, and emotions.
Without frequent forgiveness, like a dishwasher drain pump, all of the negatives overflow from us. This might look like anger, a short-fuse, avoiding others, or finding temporary ways to mask your own pain through food, drink, or media. Numbing yourself.
The only long-lasting solution is to build the forgiveness muscle. Look for every opportunity to forgive others and yourself. Ask forgiveness from others when you do something that hurts them in small or big ways. Forgive yourself by releasing the self-doubt and instead celebrating the learning that has come from your actions. Ask forgiveness from God any time you have strayed from the path you are meant to be on in order to live a well-lived life.
Forgiveness does not give you or others the right to harm repeatedly. That is not true forgiveness. True forgiveness recognizing a wrong turn and then going in a new direction. Don’t allow for someone to repeatedly hurt you in any way and cover it up by seeking forgiveness. True forgiveness will allow you to grow in your relationships, in yourself, and in your relationship with God. False forgiveness will keep you in unhealthy cycles.
How do you forgive? Reflect on these questions?
- What did you do? What impact did it have? What feelings does it stir up in you?
- How might I seek forgiveness? A phone call, letter, email, or face-to-face?
- When might I seek forgiveness?
Now, take the courageous act to seek forgiveness. In doing so, also have the courage to ask how the action hurt the person. Then, truly listen and hear it. Then, commit to a new path forward and leave this behind.
Keep forgiving and also receive forgiveness. This is the great story of Jesus coming to earth so we could know that we are forgiven and free.