When you kick your toe, you have an automatic reaction. It might shouting an expletive, or it might be squealing. Mine is hopping around for a bit and squealing. There are a lot of things that we develop automatic reactions to, and sometimes it is hard to discern whether or not that reaction is a healthy one. As I get closer and closer to seeing someone who has hurt me, and who I have also hurt, my stomach churns and twists, my head fills with doubts and I begin to retreat into my own thoughts, thinking about whether or not the conversation will go well, or end messily. Before, and often after, seeing the people who I have this sort of relationship with, I’m not myself.
Last year I listened to a friend speak about one part of 1 Corinthians 13 – the fact that love keeps no record of wrongs – and every now and then that verse pops into my head and doesn’t go away for a while. Love keeps no record of wrongs. NO record of wrongs, not just a little one, but a clean slate at all times. Immediately I think that will lead to more hurt, and you know what, it probably would. It would probably leave some more scars and bring some more tears. As I think about this, and about Easter coming up, there’s a huge challenge being laid out to me. Jesus lived, died and rose again so that the endless record of wrongs we had with God could be erased and we’d be clean in his sight. It isn’t as if there was a mutual exchange of forgiveness. God forgave me, and yet I keep on holding onto the wrongs of others and my own wrongs, as if they define me, as if they hold me.
Say I kicked my toe this morning… I don’t want to react with anger, or fear, or sadness anymore. I want to react with grace, because that is the love shown to me. I want to show myself grace, too. Maybe the kicking left a bruise or some bleeding, but that doesn’t mean it has to ruin my day. Maybe mistakes and hurt don’t have to ruin a relationship completely.