I vividly remember my early years when I would get a scrape, gash or scratch that would require a “band aid,” and how the miracle numbing spray of Bactine would take away the pain. Soothing comfort quickly replaced the pain, and I had the confidence to return to my adventures. Wounds were forgotten until that dreaded day when it was time to take off the band aid. Painful is an understatement for this cruel tradition. No matter the technique of a slow or fast rip, it was like peeling your skin off the bones.
This memory reminds me of what it feels like when faced with a person that I am called as a disciple to forgive, even if I don’t want to do it. I know the Christian words and the right bible verses, but it still feels like ripping the band aid off a fresh wound. The band aid becomes my safe cover to not see or think about what is festering underneath.
Forgiveness can be a hard, painful and sometimes a dangerous journey into the dark reality of our own hearts. Forgiveness calls for us to open a high voltage area in our souls and reconcile with grace to fellow broken human beings.
The word in the hebrew language means “to lift, bear up, carry, take, to send away.” Jesus is teaching the disciples in Matthew 6 how to pray and ask God to “forgive us our debts.” The greek meaning of forgive means “to send away – to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit – to give up, keep no longer.” To say it more simply, let it go.
We cannot pick and choose to whom we want to give grace. Jesus warns against this conditional shallow forgiveness and commands us to extend the grace we were given, to forgive others’ small debt because of the death-deserving debt God relieved for us. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18.35
We cannot simply say the right words either. It must be with our heart.
Rip the band aid! Ouch.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3.13