Perhaps it has haunted you as it has me in the wee hours of the morning. Guilt always knows when to wake you and point at that thing you did. Guilt holds up a mirror to show you the ugliness that no one sees. We carefully cover our tracks. We cover those less than beautiful parts of us and apply concealer over the dark shadows that we will not claim as us, but bear our unmistakable signature. Funny that we feel certain that no one has guessed our dirty secrets and yet, we walk around like the poor woman with her hem caught in her waistband….exposed to those we have hurt.
And when we finally come to grips with our sin, usually brought about by severed relationships, cold shoulders, unanswered calls and text, we muddle through the humiliation and guilt to own that ugly part of us capable of inflicting pain.
To receive the gift of forgiveness is both freeing and humbling.
And in some ways I find it easier to extend forgiveness than to receive it. When it is in my power to give or withhold forgiveness, you are at my mercy. When I am the guilty one, I find myself powerless. Nothing is more humbling than realizing that even before I was repentant, you had already released me from the debt. Freed me to walk with my head up. No condemnation and I had not the good sense to even feel remorse.
I have felt it in the loving touch of a little girls hand as she patted my tear-stained cheek, “It’s OK Mommy”
I have sobbed out an “I’m sorry” to feel The Mister fold me up in his hug and say his familiar, “It’s over with, let’s forget it”
I have wrestled the rolling, tumbling inside feeling until finally I ask for forgiveness from the friend. She puts her hand on mine and whispers, ” I already forgave you, a long time ago.”
To understand it’s all forgiven is to understand that I am free. I sigh as the weight rolls off my shoulder. No one who really forgives will bring up my mistake again. They love me too much, and as it goes with forgiveness, my heart is opened to a new capacity for love.
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47
I received the gift. Many times over in many ways by so many people. And in receiving the gift, it teaches my heart how to love in a great way.