There it is! The football is still there! It has been lying on that lonely, small patch of grass for almost a year. Whoever takes care of mowing that area has mowed around that object and left it undisturbed. The football has started to come apart after weathering numerous Florida rainstorms. No one has decided to throw it into the trash bin, despite the fact that there is a nearby town sign discouraging littering. The football sits there day and night, seemingly as a monument to procrastination or stubborn littering. Whoever first put it there will undoubtedly not come back for it.
That football brings to mind certain things about our human condition. Any of us could have a prejudice or grudge against another person, and that impediment could hang around for a very long time. We might not even remember what started the problem. Other life experiences and relationships could be running along very smoothly and seem very happy. That tainted feeling that we feel for a particular person could actually be wearing out, but we are not paying attention.
In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Maybe we should think about those little parentheses we put around certain people and start the business of forgiving those who have trespassed. Our football may be a little apology or attitude adjustment we should make to someone else.
I have heard of long-standing grudges in families. Sometimes a grudge can be almost a legacy that is perpetuated as a “family thing.” Other times, we might have a falling out with another person who has moved away. We may not see the person, so the bad feeling has never been resolved. That little football on the green does not take up much space, but it is still there!
Whatever our own little football may be, it is probably time to throw it away. It may be helpful to pray with Colossians 3:12-15:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and
forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord
has forgiven you, so you must also do. And over all these put on love, that
is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the
peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.
Photograph by Sharon Krause.
The scripture passage is from the New American Bible, Oxford University Press, 1990.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.