I have spent most of my life pointing out the sins of others, especially the ones that affected me directly, but the truth is I’m more of a sinner than I had ever wanted to admit.
While I was busy pointing out the sins of others I had somehow convinced myself that my sins weren’t that bad. I mean, it wasn’t like what THOSE people did. I mean, God loved me so it was fine.
I am embarrassed to admit, but that was the exact attitude I had. I would voice my anger at that ‘holier than thou’ attitude that we Christians love to have, but it took a long time for me to realize that I had that same attitude. And it showed.
Sin after sin I would justify why it wasn’t that bad. Why God was still very happy with me. After all, if He just paid attention to them then He’d be too busy, to really get upset with me. I’m just saying that on the ‘Lauren Sin Scale’ we were maybe at a 3, occasionally a 4, but never over a 5.
I don’t know if you guys have picked up on it yet, but really, it was all about me. It was only about me.
I don’t have to tell you that my sin hurt God just as much as the other sins, maybe even more because I knew better. You know that. I know that. Well, now I know that.
Really it was always about my feelings. My perceptions. My side of the stories. Me! Me! Me! I never took any of those obstacles, those opportunities, to lead by example. I did exactly what they did except I was doing it in the name of Jesus.
It was ugly.
And like them, I made it about me, when really I should have made it about Him.
‘So what does that look like?’ I asked.
Immediately, I saw the face and heard the name of someone who I didn’t really care for. It was a relationship (I use that word loosely) that always caused me pain. It reminded me of an awful time in my life. And it always brought up my insecurities. And now God wanted me to ask that person for forgiveness.
Did you catch that? I wasn’t expected to forgive, I was asked to seek forgiveness.
This is what it looked like when it wasn’t about you. This was what it looked like when you made it about Him. Uncomfortable. Embarrassing. I was humiliated.
Immediately, I winced. The thought made me sick. I did not want to forgive this person at all, let alone ask them for forgiveness. But this is what it looks like when you make it about Him.
‘You asked’ I heard Him say, and I can swear there was a slight chuckle behind it.
I imagine it looks a lot like me taking my training wheels off of my bike for the first time. Scared to death, but certain this was the next step. Faithful that my Father would make sure everything was okay. Even if I rode off without ever looking back, or if I fell down, I knew He would help me get back up. He wanted me to ditch the training wheels too.
‘Fine! Fine!’ I said, ‘I’ll ask him to forgive me.’
My reaction was so petty. It was like God had just asked me to clean my room or something. I didn’t want to do it, but I also didn’t want to make Him even angrier with me. So I stomped away and began to clean.
I invited them over later that night. Told them I needed to see them in person and that I just had some things to say. I don’t think they really believed me. After a few minutes of convincing that this was a sincere act, they agreed to try to come over.
I set the phone down, proud of myself. A little ‘ha, well look at that, not too bad at all if I do say so myself.’
Looking back now, I realized I missed the point that first time.
I waited anxiously for time to pass. I was ready for them to come over. I knew exactly what I was going to say. I was in a good mood. The kids were in bed. Life was good. It was the perfect way to apologize. It would be the perfect apology!
Yep, right back to it. Me! Me! Me!
Except they didn’t come. They didn’t text. They didn’t call. They didn’t do anything.
At first, I was angry. I mean hello?! Didn’t they get it?!? I needed to FREAKING apologize, gosh! I don’t have time for this. I’m busy. I mean, what a jerk.
In my faith walk so far I have admitted that in 30 years I had never forgiven anyone. I came to accept it, worked on it in prayer, and am getting better each day, but what I realized just a few short days ago is that not only had I never forgiven, but I had never asked to be forgiven.
I have done some awful things in my life. It is only because of the love and mercy of my Father that I am where I am. Because I don’t deserve this. I never have. I don’t even want to think about what I actually deserve.
I have lived a life all about me. Of course some of you will argue that I’m a good person or a kind person and I won’t disagree, but I was those things for my own personal agenda, not His.
The fact that God was able to send His only son to die for me so that I could be forgiven and I could have that relationship with him when I sin is life-changing. He died for us while we were still sinners. He has loved me in spite of all of my faults and each one of my hypocrisies.
So even though apologizing isn’t ideal. And even trying to apologize while the other person clearly isn’t interested is even less ideal, I’ll keep trying. Not for me, but because I’ve already been forgiven. Not for them because it’s evident it doesn’t really affect them that much, but for Him because He always forgives us.
And really, it’s only about Him, right?