Some days I feel like I live Frozen.
Frozen in time.
Frozen in relationships.
Frozen in boiling emotions.
Frozen in confusion.
Frozen in between the spiritual place I reside and the latitude and longitude I long to be.
Maybe you know about the winter less-than-wonderland of the soul.
We continue the #LentChallenge with Matthew 17-18. To download the free #LentChallenge Gospel reading guide, click here. Find out about the cray-cray color method, I’ve been using (and try it for yourself!).
Jesus has been pinching open our eyelids and sticking pinkies in our ears that we would be people who see and hear and hear and see.
Then he peels back the veil. In a holy moment, the Old Testament meets the New. Prophets of the past meet the followers of the future on a rocky mountainside.
Moses. Elijah. James. John. Peter. Jesus. The Sacred Echo of the I Am declares:
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Words we need to relish in each day. The sunny heart of the Father revealed.
Jesus then sizzles the hearts of the disciples with startling teaching and mind-bending miracles. A boy returns to his right mind. A fish gobbles a coin and endures indigestion that we might recognize the magnitude of God as Provider. Jesus reveals the greatest among us are those with innocent, simple, and whimsical hearts and the lost are haunted by search parties and receive galas when they return home.
Then Jesus transitions from warming our hearts to exposing the frigidness of our hearts.
Or maybe it’s just my own.
The Rock asks Jesus how many times we must forgive. Jesus says a zillion. Some translations say 7 times 7, others 7 times 70, but the heart behind the math always points to endless forgiveness—the same kind you and I have received.
In Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God, I describe:
The other disciples eavesdrop on Peter’s question: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”1 For a brief moment, I imagine the disciples admiring the audacity of Peter’s question and the apparent piousness of his suggested answer. Seven isn’t only generous but also representative of the idea of completeness initiated during the seven days of creation.
But Peter’s math is off.
Though forgiving seven times may seem generous to rabbis, the number is only a fraction of what’s required. When it comes to pardoning sins, Jesus calls us to exponential living. How many times is forgiveness required? Seventy times seven–more than anyone feels like offering and more than anyone wants to track. Jesus gave his disciples more than just a number, but a new way of life.
In essence, Jesus says, “Forgive wholly, and you will find yourself whole; forgive completely, and you will find yourself complete.”
The question of each day’s #LentChallenge reading remains:
What do I most need to read but least want to hear?
Yesterday I boiled with anger, frustration and disappointment toward several people who had made promises, given their word, and never followed through. I’d been following up with months. Told “we’re on it” and “we’ll get that to you.”
But nothing changed.
Perhaps you have some of these people in your life. Those pesky people who you need to forgive.
In today’s #LentChallenge the thing I most needed to read but least wanted to hear:
Let. It. Go.
Forgive those who drop balls.
Forgive those who mismanage.
Forgive this who overpraise and under-deliver.
Forgive those who short change.
Forgive those who make false claims.
Forgive those who make costly mistakes.
Because you have done all these and more, too.
I spent time forgiving. Letting it go. It was neither easy nor is it over. I suspect when the disappointment and frustration boils reappear, I’ll have to forgive and let it go again and again and again. As many times as it takes, Jesus nudges.
As I sit in the silence, I sense another nudge of the Spirit.
Let it go isn’t just about what others have done or left undone. Grace isn’t just for you to give to others, but submerse yourself in, too.
Sometimes the hardest people to forgive are ourselves.
Let it go.
Forgive yourself for the times you’ve dropped balls and mismanaged.
Forgive yourself for the moments you’ve overpromised and under-delivered.
Forgive yourself for the false claims, the costly mistakes.
Forgive yourself for when you tell yourself if you’d just done more.
Forgive yourself for when you think if only you’d performed better.
Forgive yourself for the words you can’t take back.
The clemency of Christ is designed to flow to and through. Today, Day 8 of the #LentChallenge I find my heart warmed. Through forgiveness, de-thawing sets in. The hardened heart softens then becomes life-giving again. And I find myself expectant of what Easter will bring.
Come, Lord Jesus.