Do you ever find it difficult to forgive someone? If we are honest with ourselves, we will have to admit that sometimes it is hard to forgive.
One situation in which it is hard to forgive is when the person has a whole history of doing things which hurt us. It is not so much what he has done – in fact it may be quite trivial. But the reason we find it hard to forgive is that there seems to be little improvement. He has repeatedly done the same thing in the past. He has recognized his fault. His sorrow and regret for what he has done seems genuine. He has asked for our forgiveness. We have forgiven him time after time – only to have him do the same thing again. Each time it becomes a little harder to forgive because we start to wonder about his sincerity. And, even if he is sincere in his repentance, how many times are we to forgive?
At times life can be very difficult. Trouble can come in many different forms and from many different directions. Nor do troubles always come one at a time. It can seem that everything and everyone is conspiring against us at the same time. In the case of the prophet Job, his children died, he lost all his possessions, his wife told him to curse God and die, his health failed and his friends made false accusations against him.
For many of us life is very busy. Our days are filled with activities. It seems that there is no time to do everything which must be done. It is very easy to fall behind.
Not only that, but it seems that life is getting much faster than it used to be. In previous generations, if we needed to speak with someone we had to go to their house or their place of business. Now we communicate at the speed of light over the telephone, email or the Internet. Similarly, in many cases we no longer have to wait if we wish to obtain something. We can often get what we want – whether it is information or a product of some sort – by going online.
Sometimes we become so busy living life that we forget what the purpose of life is. We forget that life isn’t about things. We forget that we need time for contemplation. Instead, we wear ourselves out dashing from one activity to another or madly scrambling to get yet another thing.
Solomon once wrote, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 NIV) It is true that we get upset when life doesn’t conform to our expectations. We certainly don’t like it when someone promises us something, but we have to wait for him to fulfill his promise. For example, our promotion is delayed because of unexpected business pressure, or the cure for our illness takes longer than the doctor thought. If it takes too long for our hopes to be realized, we even begin to doubt the sincerity of the person who made the promise.
Have you ever had an insight which suddenly enabled you to understand something which was a mystery to you before? Sometimes these insights are so radical and satisfying that it is like receiving new sight. We were blind, but now we can see. Our perspective is totally different than it was before.
Unfortunately, it may not be so easy to get others to see the same as we now do. The truth may now be clear to us; the solution to a problem may now be obvious; the answer to a dilemma may now be absolutely plain – but others are unable or unwilling to accept it. While we see, they remain blind.
For most of us, life is not easy. Since we are not the recipients of inherited wealth, we have to work for our livings. Many of us earn our bread by hard labor – or at tasks we do not particularly enjoy. Even those of us who do enjoy our work are often faced with problems and situations in our work which are not enjoyable. From time-to-time, almost everyone experiences illness or poor health. All of us go through times of heartache and grief because of the loss of loved ones. All of us encounter disappointment.
Even though all of these things are a normal part of life, they take a toll on us. It is easy to become discouraged. It is easy to lose heart. It is easy to let the disappointments and sorrows of life wear us down. It is easy to question our own worth.
Would it be better to be a dog or a lion? Most people would probably say it would be better to be a lion. Why? Because in many cultures lions are associated with royalty. We call them “the king of the jungle.” We consider them stately, noble and courageous. Many well-born families use the lion as a symbol of their household.
In contrast, some cultures regard dogs as “unclean” animals. A common perception is that they are dirty, smelly, mangy and noisy. Besides, they eat their own vomit.
We tend to blame others for our problems. To excuse our own bad attitudes or our selfishness we will blame our parents, “That’s just how I was raised!” To excuse our laziness and lack of a work ethic we will blame our background, “I come from a poor family.” To excuse our performance on the job and, therefore, our lack of advancement, we blame the company, “They’re prejudiced against me because I’m...”
Accounting departments exist for a very good reason: Without them it would be very difficult for businesses to operate. The accountants keep track of how much a firm owes to others. They pay the bills. They look after the accounts of those who owe the company money. They inform the decision makers in the company whether there is enough cash on hand to implement their strategies or whether it will be necessary to borrow money. They advise about investments.
Accountants have another extremely important function: They audit companies to make sure that their financial reports are accurate. They act as guardians or watchdogs to make sure that a company’s officers are not lying to the owners or clients about the financial health of the company. They also make sure that nobody is stealing from the company.
There is no question that we live in a world which is torn apart by violence. Everywhere we look, people are at one another’s throats. Revolution, insurrection, uprisings, war and civil war seem to be the order of the day.
Unfortunately, war and revolution are not something new. Read any history book and you will discover that our past is steeped in blood. There are very few, if any, periods of history without fighting or bloodshed somewhere in the world. The impulse to fight, make war and impose our will on others – even by force – seems to be part of mankind’s nature. In the twentieth century alone, scores of millions died at the hands of their fellow human beings.