Sunday, February 24, 2013

Forgive and Forget?

Don't you love suffering for someone else's sin?  Nathan used to tell me that it's like digging a beautiful pool, working so hard on the landscape, setting things up just right... and then someone starts throwing big ugly rocks into your lovely pool.  Ripples, waves even.  And the rocks might even miss and ruin that perfect rose bush.  Crud. 

Other people's sin have cost me something.  The damage done to relationships alone is staggering.  Sometimes I get so furious that I rant into the bathroom mirror at those people (please tell me I'm not the only one who talks AT the mirror ;o).  Or I'll rehearse what I'd really love to say when I'm alone in the car.  Sometimes I'll even write down a letter that never gets mailed (of course!).  And once in a great while, I feel God leading me to confront.  Ew!  Not happy.

And how do I let it go?  DO I let it go, or do I let it eat me up inside?  Forgiveness is a funny business.  Matthew 18:21-35 tells the story of the unmerciful servant.  You know, the one who has been forgiven the millions of dollars in debt, then turns around and throws a fellow servant in jail who owes him mere pocket change?  In the church, we've often heard forgiveness in terms of "forgetfulness."  Does this Southern Gospel chorus ring a bell?

What sin, what sin?
That's as far away
As the east is from the west
What sin, what sin?
It was gone the very minute you confessed
Buried in the sea of forgetfulness
  (Wonder where that term came from?)

OK, of course God does not forget anything- He simply removes our debt.  Besides if He DID forget our sin, the moment WE remembered it, He would, too (since He can read our thoughts).  In fact, in the parable, he brings it back up and re-indebts (not a word, I'm sure) the unforgiving servant.  That's a post for the greater theologians among us.  Back to the point.  The story in Matthew implies that part of being willing to forgive another is remembering how very much you've been forgiven.  

That doesn't mean we spend our lives wallowing in regret, rather we should live humbly, so, so thankful for His grace.  It also seems that instead of ranting at the people chunking the rocks over the fence of my life, I should remember that I, too, have tossed some pebbles, some boulders even.  And I should keep my heart open, ready and willing to forgive those offenses.  

Especially in the church.  Especially here.  Because we are a body, and even my private sins will affect the whole.  There is no private sin for a Christian.  Every act, be it gossip or adultery, stings the whole.  And because my life in  Christ affects yours, I'm going to just say right here, "I'm sorry.  I'm sorry for all the times I've chosen my own way instead of His and tainted you.  I'm sorry for the rocks I've thrown."  Forgive and remember!

No Man Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.


1 comment:

Bryan and Marsha said...

Wow!! Love this....what I have been thinking! How can I not extend g Trace when so much grace has been given to me!! Thank you for this!!