IS FORGIVENESS WITHOUT FORGIVING POSSIBLE?
A TIME FOR FORGIVENESS
I’m looking back at the holidays.
It is the day after Thanksgiving and Turkey broth is on the floor. I was in the fridge looking for something. It’s my fault. Except that it’s not? A discussion that goes on while our young adult kids Tim and Grace watch and listen.
We clean up; well really my wife Chanie cleans up, and I help where I can- then she goes for a walk.
I finish the breakfast/lunch and the Asiago bagel that I finally find WAY IN THE BACK of the refrigerator. Ok. We both agreed, my wife found it for me. It is safer. But, it’s NOT my fault.
As I write this, soon it will be New Year, then Chinese New Year 2023. Time moves on—but does this make the topic of my seeking forgiveness any easier? Forgiveness is a touchy topic.
My wife Chanie returns in better spirits. I apologize for dumping and spilling one of her two hard-earned containers of Turkey broth – give her a kiss. “Sorry for my frustration,” she says. Our kids are listening to this part too. We make up before I go to writing and she goes on to re-clean the floor because she is a wonderful wife who wants to make sure of NO BUGS.
Or at least few bugs for the holidays. Tonight, it is New Jersey Mike’s subs and sandwiches—our daughter Grace’s latest favorite. With a refrigerator stuffed to the gills and bulging outward with Turkey broth (see how I slipped this in), you might think eating out is the last thing we need.
But I already agreed the night before, and my daughter Grace makes a few great points besides their amazing taste. Her key points go something like this:
It’s my favorite, it’s my last night home before returning to Cal Baptist for two weeks of finals; plus we have a bunch of close family and relatives spread out all over New Jersey so perhaps a New Jersey Mike’s sub can make FAMILY feel closer than 3000 miles away.
My own arguments might overlap but would be more likely this: time is passing, I would like to make my kids and family happy, it is Grace’s last night home and we can afford it. Food is one of my family’s love languages.
Personally, I suspect that we are not all that different from many other American families who eat out after Thanksgiving. Still more pressing to ME is that Grace is 21 and Tim is 27, and time is THE GIFT God gives us. So last night was a Black Panther movie and tonight, New Jersey Mike’s.
Back to the forgiveness—there is a relationship between forgiveness and time. It is easy to see the need in others’ lives, but in our own time and space; it can be difficult to grasp. Almost like the hand of a leper. Forgiveness can be that hard. Whether giving or receiving. Still, God asks us to grasp that stranger’s hand.
Whom do you need to forgive? And who do you need to ask forgiveness from? A leper’s hand or lack of forgiveness in the heart is only scary when we put ourselves in the place of God. Listen to Him. Take His hand. He will show you what to do. But it is easier said than done.
Which leads me back to the refrigerator and the spilled broth. Don’t cry over spilled milk they say. But spilled broth; is a more serious matter! Consequently, because I have the pen, I must make my case in the rightness of my cause. This is what makes forgiveness so hard.
MY NEED TO BE RIGHT
Will I forgive my wife, for the spilled broth? You decide. Here are my arguments in no particular order:
- “She forced me to spill it,” I think to myself. This is completely false.
- The refrigerator was deliberately overstuffed and I could not reach what I could not find (It’s called Thanksgiving).
- The Turkey broth was at the very front of the refrigerator almost teetering off a cliff.
- It’s NOT my fault
Lest you think that I am completely unfair, I’ll have my wife read this and make her own edits.
Still, these are the arguments I believe she might make to me:
- Open your eyes before you reach into the refrigerator and grab something
- Carefully take everything out, to find what you need
- You just wasted half of the Turkey broth that I spent hours making
- Why didn’t you take more time?
You notice that her arguments are much better than mine. Although number 3 is not really a persuasive argument but more a discussion of pain suffered.
My wife Chanie’s comment after reading this: “Your arguments seem a little weak. I think we should read this to the kids.”
WHAT TIME IS IT NOW?
For my daughter Grace, the time was NOW for New Jersey Mike’s
And here’s the truth about time and forgiveness. We want people to take the time to understand our pain without suffering theirs. Or forgiving them.
STILL, the Bible is “clear” on this point. Forgiveness without forgiving is not the way it works.
God’s perspective often shocks us. What do you think?
THE TIME IS NOW:
By the time this posts, we will have entered into a NEW YEAR. From whom do you need to seek forgiveness?
And who do you need to forgive?
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Will you?
What steps can you safely take?
- Write it out
- Tell someone safe
- Ask and Seek forgiveness
We should follow the life and example of our Savior Jesus Christ.
When in doubt, ask – WWJD?