Went to a friends’ house this morning. I haven’t been sleeping…upset. He tells me about this car he had, a very nice one, but he always bought cheap, used tires for it. One day he decided to spend the extra money and buy brand new tires. He proudly went and had them put on, walking tall and proud as he left the counter, confident that he would not have to live with the fear of a flat or slow leaking tire or some other catastrophe like he had in the past. However, a few days later, as he was leaving for work one morning, he discovered the front right tire – yep – flat as a pancake. The mechanic said it was no problem. It was just a nail and he could fix it, but for my friend, it was never the same. Every time he would approach the car, he would inspect each tire in anticipation, expecting the worse.
The moral of this story? Some of us are like that…we invest into something expecting a specific outcome. We think if we spend enough money, pray the right prayer or believe enough, we will bypass problems. Yet when our expectations are not met, it breaks our trust. Sadly, some of us begin to anticipate problems while we are still at the counter paying for it and some of us don’t think twice until it actually happens, then we can’t let it go. Either way, we can’t let go of the fear. We forgive, but we don’t forget. And in not forgetting, we are never free.
What we often forget is, they have to go together. It’s not ‘forgive or forget’. If we don’t forget, we haven’t really forgiven. And if we just forget, the distrust remains intact, hidden under whatever vice we’ve come to use to escape the risks: drugs, alcohol, gambling, cleaning, hoarding, sex…isolation. Whether it’s your parents who were poor examples at showing you love or how to be loved or an ex who tore your heart out and made you feel unworthy of love…or maybe it’s yourself who seems to always sabotage what could be good because of something you just can’t let go of. Where there is risk, there is potential for growth. Even a brand new set of tires may have its’ setbacks, but at some point we have to just fix the tire and continue on.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matt 18:21-22