Image from kevinsandlin.com
Copyright © 2015
by Ralph F. Couey
except quoted and cited passages
and sourced images.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor,
and every man his brother, saying,
"Know the Lord: for they shall all know me,
from the least of them unto the greatest of them," saith the Lord:
for I will forgive their iniquity,
and I will remember their sin no more.
I’m going to ask you to do something that may cause some of you some pain, and for that I apologize in advance. If you don't want to participate, I'll understand.
Close your eyes. But stay awake! Look into the past, through the years of your life. Find an event in which someone really hurt you. Not a momentary or passing thing, but an act of hate or even betrayal that cut deep into your heart. For a moment, try to re-experience that hurt, that pain, and that anger. Whatever that person or people did to you, it changed your life. You could almost say that your life exists in two parts, before that incident, and afterwards.
Now. Take a deep breath. And forgive that person.
Now, put yourself on the other side of that line. Think about the absolute worst thing you've ever done or said to another person. Granted, it may have felt good in the heat and anger of the moment, but it has chewed at you ever since.
How badly do you want that person to forgive you?
Now, think about God. Think about the millions of times and billions of ways humans now and in the past have done things to him, or in his name that would have destroyed any of us. What would he say to us?
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked,
following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air,
the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience
—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh,
carrying out the desires of the body and the mind,
and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, because of the great love with which he loved us,
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.
For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
We take things personally. It’s part of our human nature. And we also transgress, also because we’re human. Being a husband, I am intimately familiar with that. One of my younger colleagues, recently married, asked me what the secret was to a successful marriage. I replied, “Liberal use of the words, “Honey, I’m sorry. You were right all along.” He asked, “But what if you are right?” I said, “Irrelevant and immaterial, counselor.”