Skip to main content

sorry

I love forgiveness. Today I checked my online banking status and thought my credit card statement was a bit high. I looked through my last month's purchases and aside from a splurge on books for my upcoming reading course, there was nothing significant that would account for the large amount owing. Well, after a bit of research, I discovered that last month I paid $600 towards Dean's credit card instead of my own (they are right beside each other on the bill payment list). Oops! After I discovered the mistake, I immediately paid my bill, 6 days late, and hoped the interest charges wouldn't be too bad.

Dean suggested that I call the credit card people to explain and make sure it didn't affect my credit rating. Really? That just seemed silly. I made the mistake, I will pay for it. Why do they need to hear my whiny excuses about how I failed to distinguish between two really long numbers on a list? Blonde, distracted moment, pure and simple.

Well, I decided I could call and at least ask how it would affect my next bill, so I did. The woman I reached was very pleasant and listened to my sad story of how I paid one bill when I meant to pay another. That's what she's trained to do, after all. Then she asked what my regular pattern of payment was. I told her I always paid in full. She checked it out and confirmed that I had an excellent payment record. Then she asked, "Would you like me to see if I can do something for you regarding this matter?" What? I didn't even have to plead? She just offered? I said, "Thank you, yes, that would be great." She came back a minute later to explain that I was to ignore any interest charges on my next bill because she was reversing them and they would be credited to my account. Also, my credit rating would not be affected because it was less than 30 days late. It was all back to normal, just like that.

I make mistakes. I am human. I expect to pay for these mistakes. That is justice. That is right. But then this mysterious gift called forgiveness comes along and messes with the whole system of 'tit for tat' that keeps things in equilibrium. I love receiving forgiveness, but it is not always easy. Sometimes I still feel like I should pay for what I have done, because if I don't pay, someone else has to. At times I feel like I got away with something, and I don't like that. I desperately want to feel like I made it right and can walk away with a clear conscience. Sometimes I feel like I need to prove myself or be punished to make sure I learn my lesson before forgiveness will be granted, but then forgiveness would not be a gift, would it? I am getting better at receiving forgiveness. I still don't like asking for it, but I am learning that humility and honesty are part of that equation as well. Forgiveness is good for me. In a strange way, it actually makes me more aware of my shortcomings and my angry, selfish heart while at the same time wiping the mistakes away.

I need forgiveness every day. I am sure that I need it more than I realise or admit. I know I am all too tied to the debit and payment system, relying on my own merits and actions to make things right and keep things in balance. Jesus said: A person who is forgiven little shows only a little love (Luke 7:47). I want to love much, so that means I need to get better at seeing my need for forgiveness and embracing mercy. Why not start asking for it here and now? Why not learn to receive it graciously and humbly as often as it is offered? Open my eyes, Jesus, to see how much larger forgiveness can be in my life. Let it be a doorway to loving richly.

This is a painting by my friend, Natasha. I posted it on my blog earlier this week, then realised that was wrong, so I deleted it and asked for her permission to use it. Here it is now, with permission, with mercy, through forgiveness.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

lessons from a theological memoir and a television series about lawyers

It's a hot Wednesday afternoon, so let's talk about false binaries. Basically, a false binary or false dichotomy happens when a person's options are artificially limited to two choices, thereby excluding all other possibilities. Insisting on the limited choice of either A or B leaves no room for middle ground or another, more creative solution. In other words, a false binary assumes the rest of the alphabet (after A and B) does not exist.

Binary thinking is quite prevalent in our society. Either you are for me or against me. Either you are guilty or innocent. Either you are a Democrat or a Republican, conservative or liberal. Either you are a Christian or a pagan. Either you are all in or all out. Admittedly, it is convenient to see things as either black or white, but we live in a multi-coloured world and not everything fits neatly into two categories. This is why insisting there are only two choices when, in fact, other options exist, is labeled as a fallacy in logic an…