fiery tulips

We Sometimes Need Help to Walk Out Forgiveness

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re anything like me, forgiving can be difficult.  You want to forgive.  You say you forgive, but then old offenses flood your brain against your will at the most inopportune times and you wonder if you really did forgive.  You wonder if you really can forgive. We sometimes need help to walk out forgiveness and the little parable below (birthed out of Freedom Prayer) illustrates an example of doing just that.

A Parable About Forgiveness in Marriage

Once upon a time, a prince and princess met together at a rich, sturdy table, beautifully cut from one piece of wood called the Table of Fellowship. There, the prince promised the princess 100 blossoms in an array of colors from the deepest red to the darkest violet.  When the time came to deliver, only 50 flowers arrived. The bouquet was lovely indeed but half the spectrum of colors were missing. The bouquet was filled with only red, orange and yellow hues. The princess, well-pleased with her 50 flowers, decorated the table with them and waited in eager anticipation for the prince to deliver 50 more.

They met daily at their table, sharing words, smiles, and food among the fiery hues, but when the days turned to weeks and she never collected the other colors expected, the princess frowned. As one who kept a careful record of life, she created a debt list.

Debt List
The prince owes me:
12 flowers in shades of green
13 flowers in shades of blue
12 flowers in shades of indigo
13 flowers in shades of violet

She kept the debt list at the Table of Fellowship next to her as a reminder each time they came together. She suspected the prince would notice the list and immediately make good on his promise. He didn’t.

Frowning, she stamped, “PAST DUE” on the list in big red letters, and discretely slid it across the table expecting him to notice and pay his debt. He didn’t.

When weeks became years, she handed it directly to him at the table with stiff arms. Although the debt list compelled his head to lower so their eyes no longer met, it did not compel him to pay his debt.

As the years turned to decades, the princess grew in wisdom. She understood the prince could not pay what he did not have. He paid what he could and, indeed, his flowers were lovely and good. The debt list only lowered his head and made her slave to a frown. She missed his eyes. She missed her own smile and she fell  in love with the fiery flowers he offered. She despised the debt, took it off the table and locked it away in a dark drawer. She wanted to forgive and forget, tired of her discontent and failed attempts as a debt collector. However, this list was magical.

On one of her happiest days, when she smiled and danced among the red, orange and yellow glow, setting the table for a feast with her prince, the debt list suddenly appeared with its big red stamp.

“Go away!” she cried. “I locked you up!” However, the debt list –alive with movement and voice– cried aloud,

It’s only right
It’s what is due
You must collect the debt or sue
Don’t doubt my song
You know it’s true
You’re incomplete while it’s past due!

Frowning, she locked it away again and this time she put it under a thick book, to muffle its song and keep it in its place.  But once again, on one of her happiest of days, the debt list found its way to her at the Table of Fellowship and sang,

It’s only right
It’s what is due
You must collect the debt or sue
Don’t doubt my song
You know it’s true
You’re incomplete while it’s past due!

Frowning, she tore it to pieces and threw it in the trash sure that would be the death of it, but the list remained alive. It made its way back to the Table of Fellowship again singing its sad, familiar song.

Desperate, the princess confided in another, “What can I do?”

“Oh, you can never get rid of a magical list like that on your own. It’s too powerful,” spoke the other.

Intent on finding freedom from the incessant and demanding list, she gathered a group of her friends, the most powerful and wise advisors in the land.

“Take the list out of the drawer,” they directed.

She did. With eyes kind, steady and right they examined it.

“Oh yes, the debt sings partial truth,” her friends, the advisors said “These flowers are owed to you. Take it to our Father King. We will come with you.”

The princess, with advisors by her side, held the list in both hands as she approached the King of kings. Head down in reverence, hands full of debt, both arms extended in hope, she submitted the list to him on bended knee.

Gathering the note in his hands, the King spoke, “My daughter, I am so rich.”

His deep, love-voice endued her with courage, lifting her eyes from his hands to his face and she watched as his lips continued, “All I have is yours. Being so rich, you must not spend yourself in the act of collecting debts.”

As he spoke, his right hand swept in front of him and to his side to reveal a field of flowers that extended farther than her eye could see in paints infinite and unimaginable.  “Pick whatever you’d like my daughter. My supply is limitless and all are complete in me.”

She knew it was true and returned to the Table of Fellowship, free from the demanding debt list and full to overflowing with forgiveness and flowers.

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