I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve been busy moving, editing, house hunting, buying, unpacking but mostly dealing. Don’t worry- I'm not peddling narcotics now- it’s just my sister’s and my term for when we have an issue we are turning over and analyzing and writing about it in our notebook, talking to God about it and then discussing it in excruciating detail and then analyzing it some more. That’s dealing. Lots of that has been going on in my life of late.
One of the things I’ve dealt with the last year is the issue of forgiveness. I used to be an expert on the topic of forgiveness. I’ve been known to dispense great advice on forgiveness. I could have given speeches and could have pontificated eloquently on the subject (if anyone would have asked me to). I could have written a best seller about it. I've touched on it from time to time in my blog. And all of my advice and points and chapters would have been technically correct. But life has a way of humbling you and showing you how little you really do know. So if you were expecting to read here of my great spiritual victory on the matter, I apologize but I have to keep it real. The truth is- unforgiveness has kicked my butt this year.
I guess it’s one of the reasons why I haven’t written much. I didn't feel that I could share anything of value here with this unresolved issue still hanging around my neck. Thankfully the Lord doesn't think like I do. As my son Max eloquently put it the other day, we need to approach God more like a Father and less like a boss. He's a good Daddy who doesn't shame or disqualify His children when they are broken, failing and dealing with issues.
And I've definitely been dealing with issues. Boy have I been dealing! I've gone over it in my mind a trillion times and then have ‘given’ it to the Lord. I've tried to make that more real by writing down the offense and then burning it up. In the past this worked. Not this time. For the record: This still is a good exercise and I highly recommend it if you’re stuck in unforgiveness. But I guess it all boils down to the fact that I've been reluctant to let it go. Even as my offenses went up in flames, my heart clung to them.
So am I now triumphant and that’s why I’m writing this to show you how to be triumphant too? No not really. For once I’m actually blogging still shy of the victory line. But I HAVE seen a glimmer of light at the end of this long dark tunnel I've been in. Just a glimmer mind you, but the tiniest spark in the darkest tunnel is most welcomed.
Okay, we probably all know this passage of scripture I’m about to share and it’s nothing new but please read it anyway. Don’t do like I do when someone posts a long scripture (especially a familiar one) and I
don't read it at all skim it. Do as I say, not as I do. Read this scripture. Yes that’s right… the
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35
It’s simply this: I need a fresh revelation that I've sinned much greater than I've been sinned against, and I've been forgiven of much more than I need to forgive. Of course we all know that in theory and I’m not trying to get into a “I’m a worm and not a man” type dialogue, but instead, what I’m really seeing here is the connection between the Unmerciful Servant’s inability to forgive the much smaller debt owed to him to his not recognizing the enormity of his own debt nor his appreciation of the magnificence of it being cancelled. Have I been a Christian so long that I've lost the wonder of the unfathomable, life-changing truth that God has completely cancelled my debt? That He not only cancelled it, He paid for it with His own life. He suffered and died in order to free me, so I could live; He endured what I deserved so I’d get what He deserved. Before I was repentant, before I received Him, before I was sorry, He endured the Cross. For me.
How could such a wondrous happening not be ever before me, always in my thoughts? How could someone else’s debt owed to me become more costly in my mind than mine was to Him? I don’t know how we forget. But we do. Well yea I do know. It happens when our eyes get off of Him and onto ourselves. Sounds pat but it’s no less true. At least it’s true for me.
So where does this leave me? Still dealing, yes. But dealing in a different direction. No longer looking at myself and asking ‘How can I possibly forgive,’ to looking to Him and instead asking ‘Help me to see the enormity of the debt I owed, and to appreciate that You paid for it all.”
I deserved death yet He gave me life. Mercy triumphs over judgment. His for me and mine for others. Every time.
"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who sin against us." Matthew 6:12