When my wife, Hannah, was in high school she heard a lesson about re-framing. Taking a seemingly bad encounter and applying a new frame of mind to help you have peace, patience, and understanding. For example, someone is half an hour late to a meeting at lunch and you are sitting at the table waiting with the server coming back over and over to ask if you are ready. I would be incredibly frustrated at the inconvenience of this and the time it is taking beyond what I had planned. Re-Framing would tell you to take a minute and to think about the other person. They probably feel incredibly guilty for being so late, embarrassed, and chances are they got stuck with something they couldn’t have planned for. What I love about my wife is that she always takes it one step further and adds an elaborate back story. I bet they are late because there was a car stopped on the road and they jumped out to find a couple with the wife in labor on the way to the hospital. The road was blocked and getting there by car was not possible. They probably helped the husband carry the wife 10 miles to the hospital uphill in the Texas snow! It seems cheesy (because it is) but it gave me more perspective and patience. Things happen all the time we cannot account for and there is nothing we can do about it. We know how terrible it feels to leave someone waiting because you are stuck behind a wreck on 35 and are going to be half and hour late. Re-framing takes the time for us to remember that this happens to everyone, even us, and empathize with those when it happens instead of making ourselves the victims. Ultimately it just gives us a little needed perspective.
We as Christians are called to extend grace and forgiveness to those around us. When Jesus is asked how often we are to forgive he says not to forgive just seven times, but seventy times seven. For me personally forgiveness can be hard the more frequent something happens. I come up with reasons in my head to justify why I can be angry and not forgive them, but that is not what I am called to do. The measure of forgiveness I extend to others with be extend to me by my heavenly Father. When we look at us forgiving someone for something small compared to the forgiveness of all of our wrongs by our Father it seems silly that we try hard not to forgive. When I begin to look at it from that new frame of mind, as a child of God, I begin to gain a little more forgiveness, patience, peace, and perspective.
This week think through the relationships in your life that you are holding on to anger in. Take a minute and re-frame. Try to look at it from their point of view, maybe even add an elaborate backstory as to why the event that caused you anger to occur was not intentional. Look for a new perspective through the lens of a fellow brother or sister in Christ rather than just the lens of the world. Hopefully, you can find a reason to forgive and free yourself from the prison you put yourself in that is anger. Live freely in the grace that is given to you by Christ and extend the same grace to those in your life.