Forgiveness Doesn’t Come From A Vending Machine
“Where you are most human, most yourself, weakest, there Jesus lives.” ~ Henri Nouwen.
A couple months ago, I found myself scrunched elbow to elbow at San Francisco’s hallowed grounds for fresh baked croissants at Tartine Bakery.
It’s the one place I’ve found that has brought me back to France, if just for a momentary bite. I enjoy it hot right out of the oven — balancing my pastry while standing up against a counter, one coffee cup away from a twenty-something couple out on a first date.
I noticed the cool T-shirt the guy was wearing (my husband was next to me) and I asked if I could take a picture of it.
It was an artistic statement about love.
A guy put some coins into a vending machine for his heart, but couldn’t get to what he wanted. His heart, like a Snicker’s Bar stuck in the twirly thingamajig, hung in the balance.
Learning to forgive has felt the same.
Motivated by a honest desire to obey Scriptures that point to forgiveness, my efforts to forgive others who have hurt me deeply — and myself — fell short of reach.
What I needed was not inflicting more self-guilt or denial.
What I needed was faith.
Truth Be Told
I made the mistake thinking forgiveness was a one time act of conviction.
If I forgave, I wouldn’t be angry any more…
– I wouldn’t be so hurt…
– I would be more brave…
Truth be told, all I really wanted was to forget.
What I really wanted was a vending machine called Forgiveness.
The forgiveness God offers in return is more like love.
Forgiveness begins with an awareness of my need to be free from pain and hurt. But it doesn’t stop there.
Forgiveness challenges us to let go and become the Beloved in God’s eyes, rather than the victim of others and ourselves.
Forgiveness begins, continues daily until we get to heaven, running on one fuel: faith.
Forgiveness is all about faith.
Why Forgiveness Takes Faith
After taking some new steps as the Beloved last week, giving myself permission to be loved, I wasn’t surprised to came face to face with some old wounds that suddenly opened fresh.
My first reaction was to beat myself up for falling into the same old trap. Then, I remembered God’s grace.
I realized the feelings overwhelming me were just my humanity.
And Jesus was right there next to me, comfortable and at ease with my frailty. Loving me.
It’s amazing how love can release a girl to have a good cry. I talked to my Hubby and called up a girlfriend.
Then, I flipped through some Scriptures that gave my soul some comfort food.
Here are a few:
1. If you’re struggling to forgive yourself: Take steps that reflect your choice to believe that you are forgiven by God (despite what others or you might think).
“So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins “-then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” Matt. 9:6
2. If you’re struggling to forgive others: Remember this is hard stuff, but Jesus said even faith as small as a mustard seed has enough to get you through this journey.
(After Jesus told them forgiveness needs to happen seven times seven times a day…)
“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith !”
And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea ‘; and it would obey you.” Luke 17:5-7
3. If you thought you forgave, but feel guilty you still struggle with anger or hurt feelings: God sees our hearts and His grace looks at our need greater than our performance. Grieving continues after we have chosen to forgive. The person who still grieves is the person we once were, hurt and angry. No matter. God is still making us new.
To practice forgiveness the way Jesus calls us to, we are inviting God to enter into our pain — a place of faith.
Forgiveness, after all, was never meant to be robotic.
That’s why God gives us grace.
What have you found in your journey to forgive?
*NEW FOR MARCH!* Today’s the wrap up in for February’s Faith Jam series — Unwrapping Love. I’m starting a new series on “Rest”. Check out the details below and weigh in with your voice.
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
Faith Barista Jam Thursdays – I serve up a topic of faith, you write the post. Let’s encourage each other. Add your voice. Swap our stories.
This Thursday’s Topic 2/24:
Share your post by clicking on the blue button below “Add Your Link” or just comment directly.
Next Thursday’s Topic 3/3:
One of our Faith Jam bloggers chose Rest as her One Word for 2011: Katie Randolf.
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real. Thanks for serving your personal brews!
Build the Keep Fresh Fresh Community: Link back to Faith Barista or Grab the HTML Code For February’s Special Unwrapping Love Faith Jam Badge
It’s a jam session. As time allows, say hi & drop a comment when visiting the community faith blends!
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