I was doing something nice, but I had to pay for it.
It all started when I glanced out my house window. I saw a group of kids walking home from the pool, including my friend’s daughter. Their house is far. Trying to be loving, I ran outside and offered to drive them home.
The only issue was, after dropping them off at their house I noticed, someone soaked a library book in the car. When I returned it to the library, they said I would have to pay for it.
This was frustrating. I would have to pay for it. Now, I owed money for this mistake, even though it wasn’t my mistake. Of course, I know, in the grand scheme of things, a library book isn’t that big of a deal, but I suppose it hit my heart in an intense way because bigger things like this have happened before.
For the good I did, I had to pay. Has this ever happened to you?
Maybe you went out of your way to help someone and they lashed out at you. Maybe you handled things in the right way but got accused of doing everything wrong. Maybe you gave but got things taken away from you.
It is easy, in these cases, to feel angry – angry at yourself and others. Here, we say things like: Don’t I deserve more? Don’t they see all I have done? Don’t they know all I am doing?
Our emotions can also breed unforgiveness. When anger festers, we tend to say, “Why did this happen?” Pent-up annoyance and residual anger build.
In this place, injury happens – although it is not towards the one who hurt us, but almost always to ourselves. Someone once told me unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It rips our insides up because of bitterness. The enemy laces our words with wrath. It makes our minds circle old thoughts.
Who needs that?
You know, when I went back to the library yesterday, the attendant mentioned a fine on my account. I forgot that it was for that wet book. Out of nowhere, she said, “I am going to take care of this fine.”
At that moment, she handed me the receipt. I saw the name of that wet book. Next to the amount I owed, was one word: “forgiven.” My bill had been taken care of by the grace of another.
The second I read that word was the second the Holy Spirit touched my heart. Oh. My. Because of Jesus… Because of Jesus…where I deserve punishment, I am granted forgiveness. Because of Jesus…my debt is wiped clean. In a split second, bad things are wiped away through one word: forgiven.
Because of Jesus, rather than walking around with a bill-of-debt overhead, God gives me a clean slate, a slip saying: Forgiven.
If Jesus could forgive me that much, how could I not forgive others that slight me?
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13, NIV).
We forgive others because Jesus hung on the cross and forgives us. The price He paid is worth it. May we readily hand out the forgiveness that He hands to us.
Who is God calling us to forgive today? Maybe it is our own selves. Maybe it is another. Let’s honor the price Jesus paid – and let go.