Monday, August 15, 2011
Forgiveness. . .
Author's note: This is the beginning of a series of blogs I started and never finished. This one was begun in January of this year. I just finished it today. I've been so inconsistent with blogging that my wife has started to give me assignments. I'm proud to say that I initiated this series. It will get done. . .probably.
Every morning right around 7:15 my eldest daughter cracks open her door, softly pads her feet down the hall to our room, creaks open our door and, with hall lights streaming in from her face says, "Daddy, I'm hungry. Let's go eat supper or lunch." Today was different. She came into our room, crawled into bed with us, and said, "Daddy, will you forgive me for all the ways I've offended you?"
We've taught her to do this every Sunday before church, but for her to do it, especially on the morning after a night when she had been particularly naughty and resistant to bed time was rewarding.
I don't believe that God racks us with guilt over and over until we finally say sorry. It feels that way sometimes, but the truth is, that he is more concerned with our wholeness, our healing than anything else. When I slow down and start to feel the manifold ways in which my wandering, my selfishness, my pride, my self-pity, my envy, etc. has wounded me, when I start to feel how dead I am without Christ, then I can realize through repentance what life is, what it is to truly live.
I'm not there yet. I still like to be right. I like to throw tantrums, I like to get angry and stay that way, 'cause "damn it, I deserve to be angry once in a while. It's my right."
"Wound our souls with your love," we say as we pray at the sixth hour, the hour that Christ was nailed to the cross. But I wonder if I really want this. If my heart were truly opened completely to the love of Christ, what great pain I would feel every moment of the day for having betrayed, ignored or just plain forgotten this love! Guilt doesn't even begin to explain it. It would be more like stubbing your own toe, or burning yourself on the stove, or slamming your own hand in a door over and over and over. If I have begun to become a "little Christ", then He is in me, His life is in me, He dwells in me.
"Heal my soul for I have sinned against you," it says in the Psalms. The love of the Holy Trinity, powerful, dynamic, unquenchable draws me back to myself where Christ dwells, where open arms await the repentant heart.
I forgave my daughter for all the ways that she's offended me. I must forgive everyone everything, all the time. God, help me. And forgive me for being impatient with my daughter this morning, for not listening to my wife on the phone as she reached out to me after a hard day, for forgetting to pray, to think of You. Guide me into repentance, into confession, that I may be opened, sensitized to your presence where there "is fullness of joy."