In a recent standoff with a friend, things got real chill. Not “chill” as in “kicking back” (although something inside me did want to kick him back). Think popsicle in the paw of a polar bear.
I imagine I’m auditioning for Elsa in Frozen. Let the storm rage on. I clutch ruthless, resentful emotions to my chest, in rightful revenge for the wrongs. My house and the roads at our intersection crackle, crackle in one enormous fractal of solid H2O.
So much for “Let it go.”
My bitterness iciclizes every word I rehearse, but the Holy Spirit breaks into my thoughts and whispers, “Hey, give it up. Forgive him.”
I reply, “No way, Dude. He doesn’t deserve it.”
He asks, “So how’d you sleep last night?”
I hate it when He asks questions like that. The Holy Spirit sat through the night with me as I tossed and turned, trying to justify my own mean-spirited words and actions, and failing miserably. He knows about the Big Chill. And He wants me to do something about it.
He offers a hint in the Big Book, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
He says, “Be the initiator. Hazard out onto that razor-thin plane of ice.”
So reluctantly, I give in and pray. But before I do business with my friend, in a reality check, I realize that I’ve lost sleep partly because I was upset with myself. The Holy Spirit pours me a cup of hot truth. We drink together and my insides warm up. He forgives me and invites me to forgive myself. So I do.
Then He flips to another page: Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
He leans forward and says He’ll help me forgive my friend, too.
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth.” With my Zamboni, I’ve slicked up my street so shiny, a flea could skate figure eights on a dime. But Jesus isn’t far behind. With His rumbling city truck, he fans salt cross the asphalt.
I hammer a text to Him. “What are you doing? You’re reversing all my hard work!”
He texts back. “Salt spread on an icy road melts the ice immediately around it. Melting spreads out from that point.”
I take a deep breath, fling a few grains of salt, the size of mustard seeds, at the vestiges of my friendship, and apologize to my friend.
And then a miracle. My melting heart warms and spreads to his. Who knows, maybe our thaws spread to our families, too. We explore newfound acceptance in the process. Joy is restored to our relationship as we extend good-natured ribbing and share a good belly laugh. Here was the warmth I craved.
Okay. Maybe the cold really bothered me, anyway.