We live in a nice, quiet Mayberry-type town. People are friendly, there are plenty of parades, everyone knows your name, and my neighbor’s dog won’t stop pooping on our lawn.
Seriously. This ties in with the reading from the Book of Sirach today. Stay with me.
This has been going on for over a year now, and it’s been messy and unrelenting. On top of all of that, the dog chases my small children.
And I don’t want you to get the wrong idea; I do not want you to think ill of my neighbor. This is about me and wrath and forgiveness.
One night it came to a head. Our neighbor came to the door angry that we had called the police after eighteen months of this behavior, and well, I lost my mind. I yelled. I swore. I belittled. And once I realized what I was doing to a brother-in-Christ, I cried.
I am sure postpartum hormones did not help the situation one single bit, but my behavior was inexcusable. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, I was able to stop myself and apologize.
Then came the aftermath. I had to learn forgiveness. And not just forgiveness towards my neighbor, which Christ asks us to do 77 times (Matthew 18:22), but I also had to forgive myself.
In my mind, I was above that sort of behavior. I didn’t think that I was capable of that kind of sin, and I couldn’t forgive myself. And that’s when I realized that I was sinning again. This time it was pride.
Who am I to think I am above sinfulness? Am I so right with the Lord that I should be ashamed that I am prone to sin? Not in the least.
Instead, I had to humble myself and forgive myself for my lack of forgiveness of my neighbor. This is why Jesus died: to atone my sins. He does not expect me to be spotless while others sin around me. In fact, He says that He will only forgive me if I forgive others. He wants me to constantly seek Him so that I may avoid sin as well as seek Him so that I may obtain forgiveness when I do.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, sister. We all have ugly moments. Thank God that you are worthy of forgiveness and be generous when you have the chance to forgive.
Jenna Hines has a teeny army of children: Ellen, Samuel, Theodore, and Maryn and is married to a bearded fellow named Mike. She is happiest when it is sunny outside and she has an embroidery needle in her hand. You can find out more about her here.