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Clean the Slate Often
By Victoria Osteen - Jun 08, 2010
When our son, Jonathan, was a little boy, we bought him a hamster that was affectionately named Hammy. Jonathan was so excited. He loved his furry friend and enjoyed having his cousins over to play with him. Occasionally, he would even let his little sister, Alexandra, hold Hammy.

One day Jonathan reached into Hammy's cage just as he always had, but this time Hammy evidently didn't want to be bothered because he bit Jonathan. Jonathan was shocked! He immediately pulled his hand back and decided to keep his distance for a while. You could see the disappointment on Jonathan's face. Every time he looked at that hamster, he thought about it biting him. Jonathan began to tell Alexandra, "Watch out! That hamster might bite you, too. I wouldn't touch him if I were you." Jonathan focused on that hamster bite so much that before long he forgot all about the fun he previously had with Hammy. He no longer loved that hamster; in fact, he didn't like him anymore at all after that, and we ended up giving Hammy to some of his cousins.

How many times have you seen this same situation play out in your own life? Maybe you never had a hamster, but maybe someone came into your life. You really loved that person at first, but then they did something to disappoint you. They didn't meet your expectations, or they hurt you in some way. Before long, you identified every flaw in that relationship and then decided that it wasn't worth your investment of time and energy any longer.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love keeps no record of wrongs. If we are not careful, we will start compiling a mental record of all the times someone hurt us. Every time that person makes a mistake or disappoints us, we add it to the list. Maybe the same problem comes up repeatedly, and the next time it happens, you have an automatic recording in your mind that plays here he goes again. The next thing you know, you are verbally reciting the list of wrongs or silently rehearsing it in your mind until you are completely frustrated and unhappy.

If you are going to live the life God has called you to, you have to be willing to delete the list from your mental files. The only way to do this is through forgiveness. Just as God promises to forgive us, He wants us to forgive one another. We have to clean the slate often and make the decision that no matter what someone does to us, we are not going to hold on to the offense and allow it to pollute our lives. Of course, I am not saying you should be a doormat and let people walk all over you, but you have to have realistic expectations and give people the grace to grow and change. Remember, as you clean the slate and forgive others, you are opening the door for God's grace and forgiveness in your own life in return.
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