Monday, March 22, 2010

The mistakes aren't yours to hold on to....

I've struggled with this more than I would care to admit.

But what's more shaming about it is that I only typically think about it when I begin feeling frustrated that someone else is doing it to someone.

I'm sure you've seen it. Someone who is reminded of their past sins and failures - not by their own sorrowful conscience - but by their friend, their spouse, sibling, family member, co-worker. We hold onto other peoples sins because we feel rightful in it.

If you have sinned against me I have the right to remember it forever, and to require you to take steps to prove it will never happen again even if it means it destroys you in other ways. Even if it means you must always remember you're going out of your way because you've sinned in the past. Even if it means you'll never be able to get past the sin and truly forgive yourself and MOVE ON beyond the sin - because you're always paying the cost of your sin.

I hate it when I see it. Some poor person intent on doing the right thing yet always taking extra steps to prove trustworthy, since in the past they have not. It makes me angry.

It makes me even angrier when I fail to see it in myself. I declare myself righteous and entitled to extra efforts because of what someone has done. And it just isn't true.

Once I've said the powerful words "I forgive you", that is it. No more lording it over them, no more chastisement and snide comments. No more sharply pointed jokes aimed ambiguously at my victim.

That's not what Jesus taught.

So when you say you forgive someone - the rest of the story is now between the person and God. Let it go, trust, and accept.

God really can handle the rest.

And NO ONE deserves a life time of reminders of their past.

Now I just have to stop actually doing it.

It's probably going to start with my tenant who just put the "check in the mail" again. :)


Sistahs After God's Heart said...

Hatred is not of God. Grudges are not of God. Therefore, when we hold onto anger, hate and animosity from the things people have done to us, as Christians we are not living as Christ. God was merciful and FORGAVE US for the many sins and stupidity mankind was involved in. Who are we NOT to forgive those who have done evil toward us?

Little Bit said...

I just came across your blog a few days ago and I am so glad that I did. This one in particular is reminding me that I need to forgive a friend of some hurtful things they have said to me, but also when I do say those words, that I will need to be done and over it. Thank you for your reminder.

Linda said...

There's letting go of mistakes and then there's enabling people to continue making them. I know your whole post wasn't about your tenant, but that's what hit me. Because I've been there, done that. It is possible to be a close follower of Christ and still have people pay their rent on time, you know. The hard part is doing what must be done with love in your heart. It just feels so wrong!

flyawaynet said...

Sistahs - Complete agreed.
It runs along with what Linda said though about there has to be a way to make renters pay rent and still be a Christian. Though obviously the post is not just about renters! :) There are consequences for actions, and for some reason we typically believe that "mercy" means without consequence. That's going too far the other way...

Little Bit... You're my new favorite person. :) I rarely have a hard day, but today ended spectacularly badly and coming home to your comment was so encouraging. Thanks for reminding me why I post (besides my obsessive need to write).

Linda - It's a hard line, being merciful and yet still having consequences so people believe they need to do as they ought. My pastor was the only person I've ever gotten to watch model that trait. I've got a lot to learn.

Lloyd said...

Thank you for such an uplifting and well written post. God bless, Lloyd

flyawaynet said...

Thanks Lloyd. I actually think this is an issue a lot of people struggle with. Even those trying to be forgiving because they sometimes go too far in the other direction.
Love that disregards consequences for sin is not love at all.

I'm working on a post right now as a follow up. I hope it will generate more conversation. :)