I was raised with the well-intended advice that, "Practice makes perfect." The good part of that was that I developed some pretty good practice habits around the things I wanted to do well-such as throwing a baseball, playing the piano, and shooting a basketball. The part of the advice that turned out not be accurate though is that even with all that practicing I have never actually perfected anything, either as a child or as an adult.
I can't remember how many years ago I first heard a different version of the advice related to practicing that I received growing up. What I can clearly remember is how right it felt when I heard someone say, "Practice makes progress." Now that made sense and it completely aligned with my own experience. Whenever I have committed to practicing something regularly I have always made at least some degree of progress.
Starting March 6th, more than a billion Christians around the world will begin a seven-week focus, in observation of the season of Lent, on some form of spiritual practice. The focus of my spiritual practice this Lent will be forgiveness. It is not a coincidence that my focus on forgiveness is also the focus of our 2019 Living Compass Lenten Daily Devotional. The theme for this year's daily readings is, "Practicing Forgiveness with All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind," and is available for all who are interested in this important topic.
As preparation for my upcoming focus on forgiveness, I just finished reading, "Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope" by Dr. Robert Enright. I found the publisher's description of the book to be accurate: "By demonstrating how forgiveness, approached in the correct manner, benefits the forgiver far more than the forgiven, this self-help book benefits people who have been deeply hurt by another and caught in a vortex of anger, depression, and resentment." Enright is a psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is widely regarded as one of the world's thought leaders on forgiveness. Understanding the process he lays out for forgiveness is relatively easy; applying the process is another matter altogether. Hence the need I feel about spending more time focusing on forgiveness.
If you would like to join us on this journey of self-reflection, you can subscribe to our daily emails and/or join our Facebook discussion group which by signing up HERE. If you prefer, you can download all the readings as a PDF document HERE. We are almost sold out of our English printed booklets, but you can check HERE. to see if we have any left to order. We are sold out of our Spanish printed booklets, but you can download a PDF of the Spanish booklet HERE.
Forgiveness of both ourselves and others can be challenging work, but it is work well worth doing. My goal for focusing on forgiveness for the next seven weeks is not about perfection, but about making small steps of progress in this essential life-long practice. I hope you will join us.
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