Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The sun was shining, and I was surprised at how warm I was getting. It was not particularly hot, but my load was heavy and awkward. About halfway up the hill, we paused for a moment on the gravel road and I turned to take in the view behind me. Looking out past miles of pasture and grassland, my eyes met the horizon and fixed on the mountains that stretched out as far as I could see in either direction. Turning back to our burdens, we started again up the hill.

When we had gone as far as the road could take us, we negotiated a small culvert and continued on across country. The buckets made it difficult to traverse the steep incline of the hill, but by now the destination was only a few minutes away. As we neared the top of the bluff, I thought about the objects I was transporting.

I had only chosen a few rocks, but they were significant. Most of them were pretty close in size and weight, but had specific physical characteristics. For example, one was really rough and abrasive- like sandpaper. Another was quite attractive on one side, and black on the other. Every new rock caused me to consider the instructions that were given concerning their selection: "Each should represent a deep hurt someone has inflicted on you; a wound that you continue to carry."

Every new rock made the lesson sink in more deeply.

My final selection was unique. It was a wound that I had carried around for a very long time. No, it was actually several wounds that were all joined together with the common thread of one relationship. I knew it as soon as I saw it. Large, angular and sharp, this rock was as awkward and unattractive as the hurt that it represented.

“That thing doesn’t even fit right in your bucket,” Tamara said. “Are you sure you want to carry it all the way up the hill?” She was right. This one rock was as heavy as all the others combined. And since the diameter of my 5 gallon bucket wouldn’t accept all of the lopsided mass, adding it made the whole load awkward and top-heavy. But that was precisely the point. I didn’t want to carry its weight, but I already was. It was perfect.

We arrived at the top of the bluff, set our buckets down, and peered over the edge of the cliff. The path we followed on our ascent had circled around so that we could see the mountains again. We could also see where we had begun. Ironically, although we now stood 40-50 feet above it, we really weren’t too far away from our starting point. Had we not been carrying the stones, we could easily have made the same journey in less than half the time.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22 NIV).”

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:24-26 NIV).”

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12 NIV).”

We just stood silently for a few minutes, looking at the mountains and enjoying the cool October breeze. Then one by one, we took turns throwing our rocks off the cliff. With each toss, we expressed to God that we had forgiven the one who hurt us so deeply, and surrendered the burden of the wound to Him. When I got to my last rock- the big one- I stopped and prayed, “Lord, I’ve carried this burden around for so long that it feels like a part me. But I don’t want it, and I never did. I am surrendering everything about the situation to You, including the person.
After hurling it over the side, I watched as my rock landed on an even larger one at the bottom of the cliff and was broken.

When we can’t forgive, we load ourselves down with burdens that can be much heavier than a bucket full of big rocks. If you’re carrying a weight like this around, take it to the cross and let it go. Life is better with an empty bucket.


In Him We Live,



Anonymous said...

How free it feels when you throw those burdens over the side. It's not until you do that you realize just how heavy they were. The hardest thing I've ever had to do is forgive someone who really hasn't recognized or never will recognize that they've done something wrong. But once I let it all out, laid it at the cross, turned around and walked away...WOW! Unexplainable joy! Thanks for jotting your thoughts!

I lay it down!


Anonymous said...

Interesting! This week has been a blessing and teaching from God. First on Sunday the sermon was about why you may feel God does not answer YOUR prayer and part of it is because we do not forgive. Now, you talk about the rocks you threw over the mountian in symbolic representation of letting go of the anger and disappointment you have encountered over your life. I too have been struggling with the concept of forgiveness and letting go. I think as Christians we often forget that not only are we unworthly of the forgivness given to us but it is our duty and obligation to forgive as Christ forgives. I have found that an important step for me was not only to forgive but also to ask for forgiveness to the person or persons who have hurt me. Why? Because of my inability to forgive, I have actully sinned against them and need their forgiveness also. Let me explain, if you read Ephesians 5 (don't remember the exact versus' this morning), Paul talks about not letting the sun go down on your anger, he also continues and says that one should walk and act wisely and not let the devil take hold. By holding the anger and resentment we too have sinned. Take a momement and if you can write the individuals and let them know you have sinned, ask for their forgiveness and know that each of us deserves to have the love, mercy and forgiveness that is shown to us through Christ Jesus.

Thank you for the message and may you be blessed and each of us forgiven!


Crizaddock said...

Gives new meaning to the term Bucket List. What if instead of things to do before we "kick it"...we sought forgiveness and dealt forgiveness to others.

if you appreciate noomas...you'll get a chuckle out of this...watch the whole thing...it gets funnier as it goes.