I am thankful that I dragged my sorry carcass to church this morning even though venturing out on a Sunday morning when it’s seven degrees out is difficult when compared with staying in the comfort of my own bed. But as far as going to church goes, I don’t “deserve” to be there- I need to be there.
Today’s sermon especially hit home. Right now our Pastors are teaching on the parables of Jesus. Today’s text was Matthew 18:21-35, the parable of the unmerciful servant. Talk about hitting me where I live.
I’m not a very forgiving person. I do tend to scorekeep, mull over past slights, and I’ve not been above aggressive-aggressive revenge as well as all of my signature forms of passive-aggressive revenge. God forgives me for all the crud I’ve done- and believe me I have done some pretty shameful and terrible things (no this is not repressed old Catholic guilt resurfacing.)
I find myself more often than I’d like in the position of the unmerciful servant- God cuts me a break, over and over and over again, but I end up feeling slighted and wanting payback every time someone does something wrong or bad to me.
I have to admit that sometimes forgiveness is the last thing on my mind. Yesterday when my Saturday nap was rudely interrupted and then postponed, I admit that forgiving Jerry for his total lack of consideration was pretty low on my priority list. He did come off of enough money for dog food (Nutro ain’t cheap- Clara has corn allergy and requires a corn-free lamb and rice diet, but it is a high quality food and they do well on it, so they all three eat it) so coming off of $51 for a 38# bag of dog food assuaged my angst somewhat. But I shouldn’t be concerned with keeping score.
I am really bad about holding grudges, and I admit I adore getting even.
This is not a good thing because in spite of my sense of humor and oft times salty language, I do take my faith seriously. I take it seriously enough not to candy coat it with false piety. Martin Luther said, “Sin boldly.” I think he meant it as, “Live honestly.” Don’t put up a front and be who you really are.
Some of the pettiest wieners I’ve ever known are the “Dana Carvey as the Church Lady” types.
Granted, I believe there is a spirit world. I believe Satan is real, but I don’t attribute everything remotely bad as being of Satanic origin. Most of the evil in this world is simply the result of fallen and fallible human beings screwing things up, because that’s what we do.
I also believe that those of us who believe Jesus and are following Him fail to do the world any favors by acting “holier than thou” and/or putting up those lily-white goody-goody fronts.
If there is any holiness in me, it doesn’t come from me, believe that. I am a human being who is most fallible, who screws up constantly, and who therefore has a deep need to be a little more compassionate even when other people are being stupid. I do enough stupid things myself- let’s see- abysmal choices in relationships, career choices in which I got screwed, disastrous financial mistakes, being gullible, being taken advantage of, taking advantage of others, et cetera, ad nauseam.
I’m pretty sure I will continue to laugh at my own stupidity and the stupidity of others- but I can only pray for a greater compassion and understanding when other people continually do stupid things that piss me off or inconvenience me. (i.e Jerry is currently whining for me to get him his pills, a task that an adult male of reasonably sound mind and body should be capable of doing for himself but he won’t, so I will have to do it so he will shut up already…)
Tomorrow’s Monday. I’ll have my chance for good or ill to apply the lesson of today’s sermon. Lord help me! I will need it.
I know Jesus wouldn’t punch him out or tell him where or how high to shove the pills (perhaps they are more effective administered rectally?) so I will try to follow His example.