Originally published November 7, 2014
I recently did something colossally stupid.
I can tell by the sound of your jaw hitting the floor that you’re shocked.
To repeat the details would be to repeat the offense, so, suffice it to say, it was the metaphorical equivalent of walking across a room and knocking over a really expensive vase. It wasn’t a sin, per se, it was just one of those oafish things we all do from time to time simply because we’re fallen humans living in a fallen world.
Blessedly, God protected the other person and me from the brunt of my bumbling. And then a beautiful thing happened. The other person passed over the incident as if it hadn’t even happened.
Now, I can’t tell you the number of times God has had to protect me from my own stupidity (both sinful and non-sinful). One of my favorite passages is Psalm 103:13-14:
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
In other words, God knit together every cell in our bodies and knows every thought and action of our lives from conception to death. Nothing unexpected there, for Him. He knows what He’s got to work with. So, God being God and all, maybe it’s not so surprising that He might have that perspective. He knows all of our weaknesses and still shows us compassion. (Don’t mistake my lack of surprise for lack of gratitude. I would be a smoking crater in the ground if God didn’t treat me with that kind of mercy and compassion. I am extremely grateful for it.)
What’s down right unfathomable in this day and age of everybody wearing his feelings on his sleeve, and wanting to absolutely obliterate anyone who causes him the least amount of agitation is for one human to pass over the failure of another. Proverbs 19:11 says:
Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Not- confront the person and demand an apology. Not- stop speaking to the person and carry a grudge until I feel he’s been sufficiently punished. Overlook. Act like it didn’t happen. Refuse to let it change your relationship with the person. Fuhgeddaboutit.
These days, that’s rarer than a modest outfit on a Hollywood starlet, even among professing Christians.
And it shouldn’t be. Because the Bible also says:
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31
Remember that? The Golden Rule? What happened to treating others the way we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes? Yes, pernicious sin in the Body needs to be dealt with by confronting the person in mercy, love, and a spirit of restoration, but what about those non-sinful, unintentional human foibles that land in our laps? Can’t we adopt that same mercy and grace God has towards us and our weaknesses and extend it to others?
I want to get better at that. Because when you get right down to it, we’ve got enough people freaking out and flying off the handle these days. All that does is make everybody tense and unhappy. Not to get all “peace, love, and harmony” on y’all, but, well…couldn’t we use a little more peace, love, and harmony as we do life with other humanoids? And of all the people peace, love, and harmony could come from, shouldn’t it be coming from Christians first? Let’s extend some extra grace and give people room to be human. Everybody’s going to need it at one time or another.
After all, the next bumbling moron to come along just might be you.