Trust me…I’ve tried.
The internet can help many people with many things….but finding forgiveness is not one of them.
Over the years, I have spent countless hours just surfing the net trying to find a post or a note that would ease the pain of my in-ability to forgive others or myself for the troubles in my life. As if the words I would read could somehow bring me some comfort. It always ended in frustration.
What I’ve discovered is that I am not alone… for I have found thousands of posts and notes from people just like me. People from all walks of life…just looking for comfort to ease the pain in their life. Wanting to be forgiven for a past mistake or offense that they did years ago. Or maybe just wanting to figure out how to forgive someone who has hurt them. Like me, they struggle with trying to go back and find a way to make it right.
I think I found a way that may help…
This past week as the Winter Olympics came to a close, I was watching the women’s free skate program and the lower ranked skaters were performing. I sat there watching with little interest, when something happened that helped me with my understanding of what forgiveness is really about.
I don’t remember the woman’s name or the country, but when she skated she fell, as sometimes happens in this sport. The crowd watching her took a collective gasp. She got up and began to skate again, only to fall again in her next jump. She got up again and continued on with her program. The poor women was rattled. She was skating towards the ending of her routine and her hardest jump was only mere seconds away. She would only have one more chance to land the difficult jump. She moved fast and attempted to hit the mark that would allow her to make the jump. She jumped…and landed it perfectly. The crowd went nuts… cheered loudly and voicing their approval of the final jump.
We all know what happens next, the evaluation from the judges. Sure a price would be paid for the fall, lower rankings and the skater would not “win the gold” for her country that night. Judgment given…judgment over. The falls that this woman experienced on this night would not follow her to the next competition. The evaluation she will receive will be based upon what she does on that night. Not her fall in the Olympic games.
Unfortunately, many times that is not how it is with people in the church. All too often a person is forever judged by a mistake that was done years ago. There is nothing that that person could do that would reverse the effects and the results of that mistake (fall) . Why is that? Every skater in that Olympic building had fallen one time or another. The potential is there for each and every skater to fall. Not one skater was exempt from that possibility. It is no different in the Church. Everyone has the potential to fall. There are people struggling and “falling” everyday and where is the church in helping them back to their feet?
I think we need to apply the same rules to the church as the principles that apply to figure skating. The crowd does not judge. They encourage those that have fallen and praise those that did not. The fall of the skaters are quickly forgotten and they move on to the next competition. How I wish this were true in the church.
Figure skating may be the only sport where the crowd, no matter which country they support:
- Did not want to see anyone make a mistake.
- Cheers when the athlete gets the next one right.
- Cheers at the end of all performances.
I wish the church be more like this:
- Not wanting anyone to make a mistake.
- Giving sympathy when mistakes are made.
- Cheering on when someone gets it right the next time.
I would hope that it could help those of us who are our own worst critics when we do make a mistake. Of course, this may be a naive way of viewing it. Yet, I think we would all be helped with a crowd of other people who also make mistakes that cheered (encouraged) others that made similar mistakes and finally got it right.
”The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves.”
I am amazed at the number of blogs and posts that are out on the internet that are looking for forgiveness. Pastors, missionaries, teachers, office workers, managers, supervisors…just about everyone from all walks of life are just looking for a little forgiveness.
“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”
No…. forgiveness can’t be found in an internet search.
But it can start with you and I.
We can offer a hand to help them to get back on their feet.
Let’s encourage those who have failed and offer our forgiveness. Let’s cheer them on to do right and give them another chance.
Maybe the next time they jump, they will not fall.