Like it or Not Forgiven

28 08 2016

I could feel the sweat beginning to gather in the palms of my hands, the knees were weak Rock _nas I exited the car and I could literally hear the pounding of my heart as I made my way up the long sidewalk and onto the porch attached to the home where my old friend lived. It had been well over 10 years since the last time we saw each other due to a dispute so bad we parted ways determined never to cross paths again. Well there are moments during our youth where self-pride and arrogance can cause us to say and do some pretty stupid things.  When looking back to those days and the attitude I possessed, I realized that the majority of the problems between me and my old chum were mine. I had hurt this person’s feelings and betrayed their trust and never once gave thought to making it right.  So here once again, since giving my life over to Jesus Christ, was an opportunity to make right a wrong. Like many others I knew, I had to go and tell my friend I was sorry and ask his forgiveness. It was the right thing to do, to show I wasn’t the person he once knew.

So here I was walking up to the door, nervously knocking, then waiting for a response. “I don’ know why I’m so worried,” I thought. “I had already gone to others like this, each time with positive results. ,After all everyone accepts an apology; this is going to be okay.”
The door swung open and there stood my old friend, and from the way he stared me straight in the eyes I knew he recognized me. “What do you want here?” “I’ve come to talk to you about us, to say I’m sorry for the way I treated you and hopefully make things right.”  There was a moment of silence but he unloaded both barrels, verbally speaking. “Well I don’t want your apology and I don’t want you around here. Once I lose trust for someone they never get it back from me again. Now get out of here and don’t ever come back.” And with that the door slammed in my face.

Now I had changed, but in that moment the old self in me wanted to take my size 12, kick in the door, knock this guy down and sit on his chest while saying, “Hey you forgive me or I’m going to put a knot on your head!” Sitting in the car I quietly chucked to myself while thinking, “Yeah that would really show him I’ve changed.”

Over the next few days I pondered that encounter and how it was met with a defiant refusal to even give consideration to forgiving me. Up to that point this had never happened and it made me wonder that perhaps he was right; my actions were beyond forgiveness.

C.S. Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

He goes on to say; “This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.”

I would love to tell a story where healing happened between me and my friend, but he chose not to have that. Still by my effort to truly right a wrong, the sin has been forgiven, it’s been made right maybe not by this individual, but by a loving and forgiving God.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

I’ve met many a soul that walked through life weighed down by past mistakes that weren’t humanly forgiven. To the “unforgiver” all I can say is the person you’re hurting the most is yourself; isn’t it time to set yourself free? And to the one who feels “unforgiven or unforgiveable;” don’t buy into that lie.  You have been forgiven. Maybe it won’t come from an earthly individual, but you have a Heavenly Father who’s more than willing to ease that pain in your life–to forgive, love and forget. Why not take in the happiness He wants you to have?

As for my one time friend and fellow “Traveler of the Rock Road,” who knows if we’ll ever see each other again and make things right. If not that’s alright, where his forgiveness floundered, my Lord’s rose to the occasion, picked me up and made me whole again. I can find delight and healing in that. But just in case my old buddy ever wants to have that talk, I’ll have the coffee pot on and ready.

See ya next time.


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