I was taking my usual early morning trek with the furry beast, as I like to call her. I relished in the crispness of the air, the Crayola-blue sky and the silence of a Sunday morning where most people are still tucked under the covers working through their last REM cycle. I wanted to be one of those people too, but it was not to happen. Slightly bundled up I trotted out the door and turned on an inspirational morning program I like to listen to.
Today’s topic: forgiveness. A great reference was verbalized and I wanted to keep track of it for future use. I love Notes in my cell phone. However, my skills of walking and typing at the same time have not been fine-tuned. I typically wouldn’t even try it in motion, and especially not with dog in tow. However, since the rest of the world was asleep, it was pretty certain I would be safe keeping my head down as I focused typing with the one finger I had available as the balance kept the phone in place.
I wrote down the referenced author’s name (auto-correct had fun with that so it took a few tries) and then I tried to write down the subject word, forgiveness. Except, the word came out forgive-mess. Instantly I thought how much more appropriate that term might be in my life than the original word. “Forgive me my mess as I forgive others who make messes and mess me up.”
I can relate to a mess. I see the messes I make every day. My desk at work- it’s a mess. Dishes filling the sink-messy. Sorting through my receipts from a business trip- big mess. I constantly live in messes by the fact I’m much more of a “piler upper” than a “put-awayer”.
As I look around me and see my mess here and there, or I analyze my life and say it’s a mess, it’s so obvious what I mean. That’s not to say I don’t understand “debts” or “sins”. I clearly do. However, either word is made so much clearer to me when characterized by the messes I make in my life. I can’t always see the toll my sins have taken on others around me, but I sure can relate to seeing mess in someone’s life. Situations have occurred where I’ve blurted out, “I made a mess of this.” That mess is probably my sin.
So when I take a step back and want to talk to God about my sins I guess I can start with the messes around me. Suddenly, and unfortunately, those sins will likely be more clear. That’s the good, bad and ugly of the mess I make in my life and the mess others make with theirs.
Let me take this moment to say if I have done anything to assist in creating a mess in your life, I’m sorry and sincerely wish for your forgive-mess . Forgive-mess is hard…it’s…well, messy. It’s what we need to do for so many reasons. It helps to have a reminder from time to time so here’s the excerpt that started this day’s writing.
Sometimes when you say a word like forgiveness, we think it is nice and sweet, like spraying perfume, but forgiveness isn’t like that. It’s hard; it’s tough. It is one of the hardest things we ever have to do. As I thought about it, I realized that even when you forgive someone it is easy to still hurt, to still feel the sting. In a real sense, forgiveness just ain’t fair.
Many of us pray every day, “Forgive us as we forgive others.” It’s at the core of our religion, and yet it is not fair. It hurts. It is not easy to do. Why would God want us to do something that is so unlike what our instinct is, that is so unfair?
In the final analysis, forgiveness is an act of faith. It is the belief that God can take care of the fairness problems. It is not fair just to pretend that something didn’t happen. It did happen. It still hurts. It still stings. Forgiveness is not fair, but forgiveness is a way of taking that burden from us and giving it to God Who is fair. “I will avenge,” says the Lord. You forgive. It breaks the cycle of relationships. It breaks the stranglehold on you and on me and it is what God did for us in His Son Jesus on the cross. (Philip Yancey)
Hey, let’s get these messes cleaned up here!