What does a story about potatoes have to do with forgiveness? Like many lessons in life, living your story instead of just thinking about it can have a huge impact. What I learned from a teacher spoke volumes, as I felt the heavy weight of the potatoes growing every day. It was an important lesson in forgiving others, and letting go of all bitterness.
A Lesson From Potatoes
One of my teachers had each one of us bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes.
For every person we'd refuse to forgive in our life, we were told to choose a potato, write on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of our bags, as you can imagine, were quite heavy.
We were then told to carry this bag with us everywhere for one week, putting it beside our bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to our desk at work.
The hassle of lugging this around with us made it clear what a weight we were carrying spiritually, and how we had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget, and keep leaving it in embarrassing places.
Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty slime. This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity!
Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, and while that's true, it clearly is also a gift for ourselves!
So the next time you decide you can't forgive someone, ask yourself...
Isn't MY bag heavy enough?
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 11:25
"Sometimes you don't realize the weight of a burden you are carrying until you set it aside and feel the strength returning to your arms."
"A river does not always cut through a rock because of it's strength. It can also cut through a rock because of it's persistence."
Pain and Burdens
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”