Thursday, October 14, 2004

Forgive and Forget? Forget it! Forgive me.

In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus says, "Forgive us our debts, just as we forgive our debtors." I don't like that very much. I want the freedom to hold onto the grievances done to me. I have my scorecard filled out. I want those who've wronged me to make restitution or better yet to have that big shoe from Monty Python fall on them and squash them flat--noisily. God isn't with my program, though, and I have to admit that makes me mad. He says I will get the same measure of forgiveness I extend to others. Now wait a minute. I think we can all agree that my sin is not as stinky or heinous as your sin. My point exactly, God says. No one thinks his sin is as bad as someone else's. God, however, finds all our sin egregious. At its heart every sin is a sin against him. My scorecard detailing the sins of my husband, my children, that SUV driver that just cut me off then slowed down to 20 mph, and the cast of thousands--that scorecard offends him. And here I am offended that my sin offends him. Are you stepping back so the lightning rod about to strike me doesn't catch you too? I want God to sweep in and destroy my enemies while granting me the freedom to continue keeping score. Shows who I think the real god is, don't I? God is just some genie I get by rubbing my prayer bottle. He is forced to come to my aid and smite the bad guys--or the ones who are a pain in the rear, anyway. I do have real enemies. People who have set themselves against my good; people who have placed their desires and pleasures above my good and the good of my family--to my hurt. I have a legitimate reason to hate them. They fall into a different category than the lady who cut in front of me in the line at Target, yet I find myself angry with both of them. What I really want is for my kingdom to come and my will to be done, and I want it now, in technicolor with great sound effects, please. God says that I will be forgiven to the same extent that I forgive others. How can I do that? There are wounds that are soul deep, scars that won't heal. Yet I fear receiving the kind of forgiveness I'd dish out. Gods made in my image are frightening in their capriciousness. I know my only hope is to throw myself at the foot of the Cross. I can't forgive in my own strength--either the ones who've hurt me or myself for the harm I've done. I must lay the burden of forgiveness down each day, releasing it with "I forgive ______ for _______." Then I must pray that God will bring healing to me and blessing to them. That is forgiving from my heart as Jesus commands in the Sermon on the Mount. Pour out your blessing on the ones I must forgive Lord, for their sake and for mine. Then I can go forth from the foot of the Cross forgiving and forgiven.

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