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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Freeze Frame

September 8th, 2009

During a phone conversation with an old college friend, we got into a “do you ever hear from so and so?” stream of thought. One name mentioned would spark another name. Some we’d heard from or knew their whereabouts. Others we had to say, “Haven’t seen them in over 20 years.”

Reflecting later on our visit, I realized that there is a common denominator for every person we wondered about. Our mental picture of that person is based on the status of our relationship with them at the time we last saw them.

A “freeze frame”, if you will.

When we last saw him he was the college prankster whose greatest resume notation would be “3-Time All-Dorm Butt Slide Champion”. 20 years later at the reunion we realize that somewhere along the way he learned to tie a Windsor knot and is now Vice-President of his company. Our mind tries to reconcile the person standing in front of us detailing the challenges facing his marketing department with our memory of him wearing underwear on his head while toasting everyone in German before chugging a macho mug of beer.

When we last saw her she was packing to study abroad, saying marriage and kids were fine for other people but not for her. 20 years later we find her on Facebook and discover she’s happily married with 5 children that are the joy of her life. As we stare at the profile photo of her beautiful family in matching jeans and white shirts we realize the picture we had in our mind is very different from her present reality.

Our lives, and the people in it, ebb and flow. People come and people go. We don’t do it consciously, but quite naturally “freeze frame” people in our mind. The image is frozen on the last thing we remember of them. That freeze frame can be good or bad, silly or sad.

It can also be dangerous.

If the note we parted company on was a sour one, we’ve likely spent a lot of years remembering them as the person who hurt us. Deceived us. Broke our hearts. Damaged us. Abandoned us. Their wrong done to us is a freeze frame in our mind.

As individuals who look at ourselves in the mirror each day, we’re constantly aware that we are in process. Constantly aware of where we are growing and where we are stuck. We are aware of how much we’ve changed and what God has done in our lives. We aren’t the person we used to be.

Neither is the person we freeze framed.

With everyone, and particularly with those who have wronged us, we need to allow for and extend the same grace we extend to ourselves. The grace that says we aren’t the same person we used to be. We’ve grown and we’ve changed. God is making us into something better.

God is likely making them into something better, too.

And if 20 years later we discover the one who wronged us hasn’t changed a bit? If we discover our freeze frame is an accurate image of the hurtful, deceiving person we remember…what then? Did we waste our time giving them the benefit of the doubt?

Nope.

Nothing wasted.

All we did is spare ourselves 20 years of anger, grudge bearing and unforgiveness.

When we extend grace we always come out ahead.

One way or another.


“For I am convinced that God will continue to perfect the good work He began in you until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6


Todd A. Thompson – www.ASliceOfLifeToGo.com