Friday started as any normal day. Drag my butt out of bed, get to work, chat for a minute with a coworker. I fired up my computer and started on my 'pending' orders. It's the orders I have that I wasn't able to make contact the first time.
To make a really long story short, I called a patients mom that we finally got a good phone number for and she yelled at me and then hung up on me. OK, no big deal. It's happened before. Probably will happen again. I cancelled the order and went on with the other orders I had. Then, a funny thing happened. Not 'ha-ha' funny, but funny in a 'you don't have that happen everyday' funny. Right before lunch, the patients mom called back to apologize. I can't say that in the two years I've worked there, I've had someone call back to apologize after they were mean and hung up.
Not only was that incredible in itself, she told me that God wouldn't let her go on another moment until she apologized. Talk about an incredible witness. She laid her pride down, humbled herself before God and called back.
Now, I wasn't hurt by it. But after the apology phone call, I was affected. I was faced with a question. Would I be strong enough or obedient to God and call someone back?
The story, however, doesn't end there. I told her that she was forgiven. I forgave her. No harm done, it's all good. Now, I work in a call center, and I have a voice that is loud (I'd make a good megaphone) and I can be heard by the people around me. When I got off the phone, someone laughed at what I told the lady who called. "You're forgiven?!" she asked. It was a scoffing tone, like it was a stupid thing to say. She understood a little more after I said the person apologized, but the fact that it sounded like a stupid thing to her was sad.
Why? you may ask. I don't know all she believes, but the fact that 'forgiveness' is foreign to her is . . . I'm not sure I even have a word. Sad, heartbreaking, disappointing are a few words that come to mind. I know she goes to church on occasion. How much teaching she has is a good guess.
The person that sits next to me believes in Buddha. He has a little statue on his desk. Buddhism teaches on the principle of not holding a grudge, or forgiving someone. Karma and all that. He even said he would hold a grudge. I don't know how close his following of Buddha is.
Colossians 3:13 NLT "Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. "
We all have faults. I'm sure there have been many people that have had to forgive me. I've had to forgive myself. We all have opportunities to forgive someone. I was, for all intents and purposes, engaged several years ago. We hadn't made it official, but everyone knew we were planning on getting married. Then he crushed me. He was out of state and I went to see him. He dumped me the first day I was there and I spent four days alone, in a far away state. It took me a year to finally get over the numb feeling and get angry about it. Then he pulled a couple other crappy things. A real messed up situation. But I had a choice. Forgive him, or become bitter. I had to do some counseling, but I did forgive him. And I know I'm better off without him.
You see, forgiveness isn't all about the person you need to forgive. It's also about you. If you don't forgive, you will become bitter and hard and God can't work in you. It's not easy. It's something you have to make a choice to do. It's something that you will have to do over and over and over again, most likely for the same person. Luke 17:4 NLT "'Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.'”
Jesus also tells us in Matthew 6:14-15 NLT "'If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.'"
Jesus paid the ultimate price for our forgiveness. He died for us, so our sins would be forgiven and we can spend eternity with Him. He rose again to crush the hold that sin has over us so we can be free. How little of a price do we pay when we forgive someone? We don't have to die for it. We just have to make a choice. How is it that we have lost sight of that?
That's why the concept of forgiveness is so foreign to the world. We've lost sight of the ultimate forgiveness and we figure the world deserves what it gets. Without Jesus, they will get what we ALL deserve. We ALL deserve death. It's only because of Jesus that we have life.
Grace plays a huge part in this as well. When Jesus died and shed his blood, it covered all our sins and the law. We now have a way to God. And it's because of God's Grace and Love that He sent His Son to die for us to make that way. We have the perfect picture of Grace and Forgiveness. Why do we make it so hard? Why can't we follow the example that Jesus lived?
So now, we all need to look inside ourselves. Knowing that we pull on the Grace of God every moment of life, are we willing to extend that Grace to others? Are we willing to humble ourselves before God, be obedient to Him, and either apologize or forgive someone? Are we willing to do it, even if we get mocked? Is it in You?
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.