I was preparing for a presentation last week about God’s promises and on the list was His promise to forgive us. I thought about that a lot because I am one of those people who seems to continuously screw up and, even worse, doing it making the same mistakes repeatedly, annoyingly.
I thought about God dealing with me. If I was God, I would be rolling my eyes, hands on hip, exasperated and threatening with the “last chance” speech. You know this speech if you are a parent. It starts with, “I cannot believe you did this again” and ends with, “This is your last chance. If you do it one more time I am going to…fill in the blank.”
My God doesn’t do that, even though he has every right to. No, he defends me instead of prosecutes me. I hear him as he says, “It is okay. I know you are human. I know you are trying. You are going to get this, I know it. I forgive you and you have a clean slate to start over. I will never remind you of this or use it as evidence against you in the future. I just love you and want you to do better. And I know you will so go out there and do your best and see how it will all work out.”
Can you imagine if we all did this? If forgiveness was automatic with no residue for the future. “It is okay honey, I know you are trying to remember to pick up those socks and it just hasn’t happened yet. It will. I forgive you and know you are going to get it.” Or, “Okay bad driver who just cut me off, I am not mad at you. I know you are human and you probably have somewhere you need to get to pronto. It is okay. I forgive you and wish you well on your journey.” Or, a huge step in forgiveness, ” I know I didn’t get everything I needed as a child, Mom or Dad, and you weren’t the best parent, in fact, you were the worst parent, but I know you are human. I know you did the best with what you had and as who you were. I forgive you. And I am going to use everything that happened to be a better parent and keep on trying for you and for me.”
I forgive you.
No eye rolling or hands on hips. No documenting the wrong for future reference. No residual anger or hurt.
Just forgiveness and love and belief in the redemption.
To me, this is the start of peace on earth.