I overheard someone make a comment this morning. It was something about a particularly vocal Christian they know who "spends his week being an a##*ole" and heads to church on Sunday for his "weekly dose of vindication." My heart sank and is still sinking. I've spent the morning busily doing other things but this conversation simply won't exit my brain. So, here I sit, deeply believing in the power of Christ's forgiveness and deeply believing that the cross of Christ helps us tell the truth - the truth about ourselves and our experiences.
Part of the truth is that this guy (I know him too) has hurt some people I know and have come to love. I've heard him speak about Jesus and faith and I also struggle to see how he connects life and faith together in how he has treated some people.
While it plays out differently, I also see these things in me. I hurt people too. Sometimes I know it and sometimes I don't. I'm pretty certain that there are people who wonder about the connection between the faith I confess and their experience of me during the week. But I also place my hope in the promise that whatever happened at that cross also has a part to play in what needs to die in me. Because God loves my neighbor (you) and by extension God loves your neighbor (me). Therefore, the forgiveness that comes from the cross is not an empty one. It is one that also names the pain, the perpetrator, the victim and the consequences as we move through the muddle of our humanity. I believe that the way I treat you all has true consequences for me on both large and small scales. I also believe it is true that God forgives wholly and completely. And I am grateful for it all.