Monday, 07 July 2008
by mr pine
Have you ever been in a situation where you know you're being lied to? I'm sure everyone has. How do you normally react to this? Do you feel angry that they are lying to you? Do you feel embarrassed for them? Let's say the lie is pretty minor and you really didn't care anyway. Does this change your attitude about the lie?
For example, let's say that someone promised to give you a DVD that they had. Then you find out by chance that they gave it to someone else after they promised it to you. You really didn't care whether the person gave you the DVD or not, but you ask about it anyway. Then they tell you that they lost it.
Usually, for me, at this point I just let it go. There's no sense in really getting upset about it since you really had no expectations about it. So then I just tell them it's alright.
Let's say they start going into detail, still trying to sell you on the lie. In the above case, they start telling you this story about how they thought they left it in the car, but it's not there... that they turned the house over trying to look for it... and that if it ever turns up they'll be sure to give it to you as soon as possible... blah blah blah...
This is usually when I start getting a little annoyed. Okay, maybe more than a little annoyed. And I just want them to just shut up because it starts sounding like nails on a chalkboard to me. I wish that there was some way that I could stop them, but I have to play along with the charade that I never cared about in the first place. And the longer they talk, the more angry I get.
I wonder why this is, exactly. Is it because I feel insulted that they think that I'll believe their story? Is it because I don't like it that they're assuming I cared more about it than I actually did? Or is it just that in that moment between the quick white lie and the long drawn out story, I decided to give them grace and they didn't take it... that they weren't satisfied with my pardon and needed to absolve themselves... that my forgiveness was insufficient (or maybe even insincere.)
I think it's the last one more than anything. I want to move on and forget about it, but they won't let me. I have to sit there and dwell on it for their own sense of satisfaction that they are not a bad person at heart... when I never thought they were.
I think this is sort of how it is when, even after we ask God to forgive us of our sin, we act as if we are not forgiven and try to make excuses for our behavior. It's like saying... "God, I know you forgave me, but let me explain to you why I'm not such a bad guy for doing what I did." It may make us feel better about ourselves, but what it really does is cheapen God's grace. God's grace plus our own justification doesn't add a single molecule to God's grace. If we would just admit that we are completely retched sinners and accept His forgiveness with open arms and then move on from there, without bringing back the shackles of past sin into our new lives, we would be able to do wonderful things for God's kingdom.
Do you have a hard time forgiving yourself? How difficult is it to ask for and accept God's forgiveness compared to letting go of your own mistakes?