I work with a young man who has “no promises” tattooed on the outside of one forearm. On his opposite forearm in big black lettering he has “no apologies.” Both arms bold, both meant to make a statement of this guys beliefs. On one hand, or arm, this co-worker is correct. He is almost Biblical is his ideology. I mean the Scriptures do say to let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”. So it would follow if you make no promises you have nothing to break, you’re being true to your word, right? But perhaps promises are not something any human being has a right to make in the first place. Maybe making promises is in fact something purely divine. For there is only one Who can make as many promises as He chooses and will never fail to perform or fulfill each and every one.
2 Corinthians 1:20
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
If we take the time to root ourselves in this truth than we know the strength and surety of the rock upon which we stand. With this confidence we are then able to extend forgiveness to others. For we know that it is humanly impossible for others to keep their promises. It changes our expectations. This knowledge that only God is the keeper of promises and the fulfilled of our expectations. I am not saying we have no standard of living and or have no expectations for others. I am simply proposing that with those expectations and standards we leave room for human error. Knowing in that in our futures we too will need the same grade we are extending right now. For just as others are not perfect, neither are we. So perhaps seeing ourselves rightly is the first step towards forgiving another, as well as accepting God’s grace for our own lives.
Grace is something I have been learning a lot about recently. It seems to be the subject of the my holy classroom. God is indeed the best of all teachers. In this class, I am currently reading What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. Mr. Yancey’s thoughts have me pondering forgiveness more than any other season of my life. Especially as I look at why I may be harboring unforgivness in my own heart. I believe unmet promises, and broken expectations are at the core of most human hurt. My own hurt. A certain expectation or promise is set. One or more is cracked and then a seed of unforgivness is planted. We as the one offended then have to answer this question, ” to forgive or not to forgive?” This is the question that holds the key to peace, contentment, and love. Each day in a thousand little ways I have to answer this question. When someone cuts me off in traffic, when I have to cover a co-workers laziness again, when I get over looked for a promotion, when my loved ones offend me, knowingly or unknowingly, when someone steals “my” parking space. The list grows from the mundane to the inhumane. Some have bitter betrayals to overcome, or heinous crimes that have been committed against them or their family. The truth remains. The only thing strong enough to bring freedom from pain and bondage is forgiveness. For forgiveness is just another word for grace.
Grace is something My work place needs desperately. I don’t believe the guy I work with is right in thinking no promises will equal no apologies. Because the reality is with or without promises we have to ask for forgiveness almost every single day. We are all human constantly entering into other people’s worlds. We are daily stepping on another’s toes, trampling their proverbial grass, and knocking their perfectly aligned “stuff” around. Although we do all these things unwittingly, it is then up to us to simply say “sorry.” And maybe it’s not for them, it’s for us. To breed the kind of humility which enables us to accurately self asses ourselves. To see that yesterday we trampled on someone’s grass, so today we are able to forgive the trampling of our own. Because all unforgiveness really does is create fissures between us and others, even the ones we love. But forgiveness, true forgiveness, divine forgiveness, builds bridges. Bridges over which we may cross and enter into territory likened to Heaven on Earth.