He can poison my land.
He can poison my trees.
Heck, he can even poison my lemonade!
But he can’t poison my heart…and that is where the real Toomer’s Corner is…for me and for all of my Auburn family.
We all hold certain ideas, things, people, places, and memories very close to our hearts. For many reasons and many generations, Toomer’s Corner is one of those “possessions” for me, as it is for so many others. How we react when those belongings are trod upon says a lot about us. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life, “ is the exhortation from the Book of Proverbs. But how, exactly, do we do that?
I once heard someone say that unforgiveness was like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Applied to this situation, I have decided that I must forgive this act of natural poisoning or allow the spiritual poison to enter my own heart, which turns to bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. The choice is mine.
Forgiveness isn’t acting like it didn’t happen or that it wasn’t that big of a deal, or even pretending that it wasn’t wrong and didn’t hurt. In fact, I think anger and mourning are appropriate responses to such a careless and mean-spirited act. Paul doesn’t tell us not to be angry, but rather not to sin in our anger (Eph. 4:26). But what does that look like? How do we keep the sun from setting on our wrath so that bitterness never sends its poison to the root?
Forgiveness is an accounting term. When we forgive a debt, we simply wipe the slate clean. The indebted person is no longer obliged; instead, he is free and unencumbered to move on without further obligation. It is the choice of the person who holds the debt whether or not they will forgive the indebted one. I get excited at the thought that my bank might one day get a hold of this concept with me!
We see our perfect example of forgiveness in the person of Jesus Christ. As His broken body hung from that tree that was so full of poison and hate, He uttered three words – “It is finished!” Actually, the Greek New Testament uses “tetelestai,” which believe it or not, is an accounting term. It was the word that was stamped across a debt after it had been paid. It means PAID IN FULL!
Jesus suffered the full punishment in His body that was due to us. He paid the price and He paid it in full. It was a big deal, it hurt, it was real, but He chose it anyway. And in choosing, He opened a door for us to be reconciled to a Holy God. Furthermore, by His indwelling Spirit, we now can choose to walk by His life and walk out that same forgiveness to those around us. Impossible with man, but possible with God!
For me, as an Auburn man and a follower of Christ, the choice is simple. Not easy by any stretch, but simple. I will let him that did this offense off my hook. I do it mourning a huge loss, angry, heartbroken, and confused, but I make the choice that the poison stops where it is.
Did Toomer’s Corner get poisoned? Not mine…it’s being kept with all diligence.