TYPOS, SELF-LOATHING, AND GOD'S GRACE
True confession time – I was, at best, a middling English student in high school and college. I was not anti-English – it just was not something that captured my attention. (Except for a certain literature class in college – I was not as enamored with Dostoevsky as my professor would have preferred – but that’s another story for another day.)
Because of my middling performance in English, I find it a way of pointing to God’s sense of humor that I now make my living as a writer and speaker. I am bothered to no end by sentences ending with prepositions, paragraphs that end with one word all alone on a line, and do not even get me started about typos – especially in the Sunday bulletin and both snail & e-mail correspondence.
I had a blog post last week that contained no spelling errors but did include the wrong word thanks to a homonym. When one of my friends from Pittsburgh pointed this error out to me, I was incredulous. Not at them, of course, but myself. There was no reason other than sheer carelessness for not catching the error. It was not long before Erin had enough of my kvetching and told me, as only a wife can, “Get over it – what’s done is done – time to move along.”
Reflecting upon that exchange from Saturday, I realized there are similar sentiments that can at times leave us from embracing God’s grace, peace, mercy, and love. Rather than finding a way to move forward from mistakes we (and/or others) have made, sometimes we have a tendency to chew upon such things until there is no more cud left – and even then we keep flapping our gums because it has become second nature to just chew for the sake of chewing.
Christ’s life, death, and resurrection point us to the reality that we are forgiven. We are loved. We are cherished. We are treasured. We are all these things not because we are perfect or always do the right thing – we are given God’s favor because God loved us before creation ever came into being.
Are we going to have times where we have to deal with some of the consequences of less-than-ideal decisions we have made in the past? By all means. There is not a one of us who does not find ourselves in that boat. Yet, we have two choices – we can beat ourselves up in a fit of self-loathing and hatred that sees no hope for a future with love and forgiveness – OR – we can find ourselves admitting our faults, accepting Christ’s forgiveness, and pursuing a way forward.
Whether it is something as silly as a typo (I cannot believe I actually wrote those words) or something as serious as a grievous sin from our past or present, there is a time to let go. There is a time to move forward. There is a time to recall and embody the words of John’s gospel, chapter three, verse seventeen: ““Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Christ did not come to condemn us – let us quit the tendency to condemn ourselves and embrace God’s love personified in Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit.
Grace and Peace, Lamar
What is it in your life that is holding you back from embracing God’s grace, peace, mercy, and love – and how will you go about finding a way forward from paralysis to forgiveness?