Thursday, December 22, 2011

Handling Your Neighbor 5 - Don't go too long without asking for forgiveness.

Here is the last one (for the moment) - Don't go too long without asking for forgiveness.

Again, this is a simple idea, but in your relationships with your neighbors, be quick and ready to ask for forgiveness. When you have done wrong, apologize, confess your fault, and seek forgiveness and mercy.

I mean - why wouldn't you want to be forgiven by your neighbor? Seriously - think about the times you've been in a spat and you haven't wanted forgiveness. Have they ever been good reasons?

Were you being stubborn and refusing to see your faults? That's not good.

Were you scared of rejection? Well, that fear isn't good. And as for rejection... well, if you go and are rejected, I'm sorry. But at least that way you aren't worried and de facto rejected as well.

Were you just sort of glad to not have a reason to deal with the person - that their anger at you kept them away? That's certainly not healthy.

Seriously - why wouldn't you want forgiveness?

Ego. Pride. Fear. Sin. All of it. That's what our sinful flesh tells us to do - to run away and hide from mercy, to hide from a Word of forgiveness as assuredly as Adam and Eve hid in the garden.

No. You are forgiven. That is fact. When you have sinned, go to your brother, ask for forgiveness, so that you can both see this truth, that this truth of forgiveness can be what shapes and defines your life together.

Forgiveness is a great thing - and in this case it is as good to receive as it is to give.

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My big giant caveat. Don't become a "forgiveness junkie". What, pray tell, is a forgiveness junkie? Consider the following discussion.

Person A: Oh my dearest brother, please, please forgive me for the wrong I have done you, I'm terribly sorry.

Person B: What are you talking about?

A: I... I... sneezed while you were talking. It distracted people from your words. Please forgive me.

B: You sneezed?

A: Yes, and I'm terribly sorry - please forgive me!

B: Um... okay.

Forgiveness among friends can be casual. If you sneeze, say excuse me and go on with life. It doesn't have to turn into private confession and absolution. But don't turn into some Medieval style monk trying to find every little flaw so that you can hear it be forgiven... that's just annoying to your neighbor.

Let your seeking of forgiveness be to sooth your relationship, not give you an emotional high.

::shudder:: I still remember when the one group on was on caught this - it was like being spammed by some weird liturgical pietistical busybody moral exhibitionist club. Very scary.

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