People make me mad. They do dumb things.
And I especially get mad when those dumb things are hurtful to me, or to my family.
If I’m really mad, I might even make up a story in my head about The Offender’s motive and character. I might even rehearse that story so many times that I convince myself The Offender isn’t worth my forgiveness. Like, ever, ever.
In my story I would even refer to him (or her) as The Offender so that when I tell the story to my friends, it’s abundantly clear who the bad guy is.
This would all be done in the name of Jesus of course, since Jesus is always on MY side and all. (If we had sound effects on this blog, you would hear screeching tires right about now, as my pridefully ignorant attitude comes crashing to a halt.) An attitude that is altogether un-Jesus, mind you, but let’s skip that part because I’d rather talk about The Offender right now.
Hold on while I back up and screech to that halt one more time.
Can we start over here?
God has been talking to me a lot about this forgiveness thing lately. For the record, it becomes super clear that God is talking about A Thing when you study it all week, and then it shows up as the topic of your pastor’s sermon. (Go figure.)
Here’s the deal: there is a major problem with my refusal to forgive someone.
I have been forgiven…MUCH.
So how can I accept grace for myself, but refuse to offer it to others?
Quick side note: this unforgiving attitude of mine basically lines me up next to the Pharisees, and I’m pretty sure that’s not who I want to look like (Read all about that here: Luke 7:36-50).
The sad thing is, I’m talking about TRIVIAL ISSUES.
You know like, How can they be so passive aggressive? Don’t they know how childish that is? What a jerk. I’d like to tell Facebook (or maybe even the whole internet) my side of the story so everyone can see how dumb he is…and how right I am.
Please just pause for a minute to consider that ridiculous statement.
So…if I am proven right by a jury of my closest social media friends, what do I win anyway?
Is it really my aim in life to get everyone on “my side” of Such Matters so that someone else can be judged and shamed? FOR WHAT POINT?
Besides that, is their crime all that different from my own repeated offenses?
Or is it that self reflection will require me to hold my horses before I insist on The Offender’s conviction and mega-cruel punishment?
Who is the True Offender here anyway? Him? Them? Her? Surely not me.
Good grief, scripture often resurfaces at the inconvenient times. By that I mean whenever I entertain a self-righteous, unforgiving attitude, the Holy Spirit drops the whole plank-in-the-eye story in my lap. (Stupid planks.)
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye” – Matthew 7:3
Yeah, that one.
Gets me every time.
Makes me feel sort of like a poker player who slaps her cards down on the table because she has nothing left to play.
I’m out. Grace wins.
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