Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
When my horse suffered from colic last week, it wasn’t easy to diagnose. Colic is a stomach upset that in horses can cause great distress. Their stomachs and intestines have many twists and turns that can become impacted or distended. Symptoms include biting at their sides, rolling, sweating, passing gas, pawing, elevated respiration, stretching or lying down. Often when horses get even a twinge of pain, they become anxious which only makes things worse. Sometimes, they get so bad, they must have surgery and occasionally, they can die. It can be caused by food, stress, weather changes or a myriad of other things and no one can predict when it may strike. In Trucker’s case, he did not show the signs of severe colic. He did not lie down or roll. He was not sweaty or acting like he was in pain. Instead, he was clingy, quiet and subdued. He just did not act himself. He would bite at his side occasionally, but he also does that when he bites at bugs. The only thing that cued me in was lots of gas. If you have ever had a large dog in the house, you know what I am talking about. After a few days, I decided to call the vet to come out. I was on the fence as it is a large expense and I didn’t want her to travel all the way to my house for no reason. When she arrived, however, she said I had done the right thing. Though not impacted, his gut was not working well. So she fed a tube through his nose into his stomach and pumped him full of mineral oil and water. Afterwards, we talked about what might have caused his stomach upset and decided it was an overdose of oak acorns. I am now dumping my manure under the oak trees to make that treat less enticing. Though I don’t fancy acorns, sometimes, I have a similar problem in my life. I also get myself worked up and in distress. But, it is caused by harboring unforgivness. I recently heard a preacher say that in his opinion, most relationship problems are caused by unforgiveness. I know how that goes. Someone slights me, and I stuff it down. I nurse my hurt and let it fester. Before long, my gut starts to churn. On the surface, everything seems alright, but inside, I feel lousy or mad or sad or a combination of all three. Instead of holding on to resentment, if I chose to forgive it is like a great big does of mineral oil. Pardon has the power to cleanse, to ease the pain and allow me to see clearly and make better choices. I forgive, not only because I am instructed to do so, but because it brings healing. It makes me feel better. If I am going to be bound up, I would rather it be by love than by holding on to unforgiveness.