Forgiving hearts and short memories

“…He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10)

“If you should mark iniquities, O Lord, who would stand?” (Psalm 130:3)

I have set records along life’s way for naivete’ and plain-out stupidity.

If everyone kept a record of my flaws and faults and slights and blights, I’d be the least popular person on the planet.

I have said things to people–blurted them out without thinking–that return to me in the middle of the night and put me to shame. “What was I thinking?”  “Why wasn’t I thinking?”

Some remarks were trivial, off-handed nonsense, meant as nothing and, as Shakespeare said, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  And yet, in my  determination to make sure no moment lacked the sound of my voice, I prated on and on.

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Forgiveness: Such a powerful concept

“….accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another.  Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).

For reasons I never fully understood the old gentleman carried around a load of bitterness, much of it directed toward me his pastor. In a business conference when we were discussing calling a young man as our youth director, the old man stood and poured out venom on the proceedings. He was clearly angry about something, all out of proportion to what we were discussing.

“I have no idea what it is between you and him,” said a man in his Sunday School class.  “Actually,” he continued, “he’s a good teacher. I like him.”

I knew a little of what had happened.  A year earlier, the gentleman was convinced that I had not spoken to him and his wife at a church function.  “You talked to everyone there except us.”  I was completely unaware of this and apologized, then drove across the city to his home and apologized to his wife. A sweet lady, she said it was nothing, that her husband was just being himself.

The man never turned it loose.  He now had a license to be angry at his preacher.

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“We dropped the ball!”

I find myself wondering when pastors and churches stand before the Lord and are asked what they did with the resources given them, whether they will say, “We dropped the ball.”

And wondering how that will fly.

In the city where I live, the local Children’s Hospital–a hero to untold thousands for many years–is under attack and the focus of a number of lawsuits.

Over the past couple of years, the hospital had at least five patients (all children) to die of a fungal infection which was the result of infected bed clothing.

As bad as that is, the hospital leadership did something even worse: They did not report it.

They were protecting themselves, they thought, by not following the law and informing the appropriate agencies about this. Consequently, they are in a mess of trouble.

Sound familiar?

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The right to be forgotten

“And their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).

Something happened this week to remind me of a note I received from a preacher some time back.

On my website, I had reported that the local newspaper was telling of the arrest of this man for incest.  I was appropriately concerned that servants of the Most High God should conduct themselves by higher standards and I probably shamed this fellow for his iniquity.

The man wrote, “All charges against me were dropped.  But every time I try to get a job and the employer googles my name, your article comes up telling of my arrest. That’s the end of that job.”

He needed me to go back into my files, find that article, and delete that story.

It took some doing, but I managed to find the article and erase the story. Then, I sent him an apology.

It was a well-learned lesson, and I’ve been cautious ever since.

It turns out that this is a far-reaching problem with all kinds of legal dimensions.

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