Forgive: 1.To grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve. 2. To give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.). 3. To grant pardon to (a person). 4. To cease to feel resentment against. 5. To cancel an indebtedness or liability of.
Annie Dillard in her book “Teaching a Stone to Talk” said, “It is madness to wear ladies straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets.” The imagery makes me smile.
Have you ever ridden bumper cars at a carnival or fair? Everyone is driving around erratically bumping into one another. It is an accepted expectation. Everyone laughs as they crash into each other; slamming into each other – on purpose! And taking delight in it.
What if we entered into our Christian community fully expecting to crash into each other? What if we were so aware of our own imperfections that we excitedly pushed the pedal to the metal playfully with one another? What if we take the blows like a crash dummy? I know that sounds farfetched.
Here is another analogy. What about a huge school of fish? They seem to move instinctively in the same direction, picking up cues from each other and their environment to change direction seamlessly. They move in unison. How do they adjust direction and speed all at the same time? It seems like it all happens in less than a millisecond and hundreds of fish all shift – seemingly without any communication!
These two analogies have one thing in common. Neither scenario has any room for anyone to take offense. The first scenario is playful and acceptably reckless. The second is precision at its finest. A multitude moving synchronously as one.
Maybe we can apply both to church. Accepting our imperfections, we move forward. The more we trust one another, we begin to crash into each other a little less and move toward synchronicity…in forgiveness.
Father, thank you for Your forgiveness. Help me embrace freedom in You. Help me delight in it! Rejoice in it! Give me the confidence to forgive others as you have forgiven me. Make me ready to trade my straw hat in for a crash helmet!
Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 6:33, 6:12-15, 9:2-6; 2 Corinthians 2:5-7