For about six weeks this summer I sported a black air cast on my left leg. I didn’t own bragging rights to a pity-producing injury or accident. The cast was simply a corrective measure prescribed by my podiatrist to alleviate a pesky case of tendonitis. But when friends and strangers alike queried, “So what did you do?,” telling the truth quickly grew tedious. Tendonitis is nothing if not boring. And then two separate incidents one stormy Thursday morning in June supplied me with a better answer.
Incident #1:while backing my minivan down our driveway in a deluge, I accidentally sideswiped a houseguest’s car. Incident #2 four hours later: I inadvertently double-booked business lunch commitments. While I was sitting at the Red Apple Restaurant reviewing a PR plan with one author, another was waiting for me in the foyer at work.
I wish I could say that I spent hours blaming myself for both blunders, but it was more like days. Weeks even. Why didn’t I wait to navigate the driveway until the visibility improved? How could I have failed to note that I had scheduled two business lunches on the same day?
“I didn’t have an accident,” I told the next person who asked about the cast on my leg. “I got this from kicking myself.”
So it’s gotten me to wondering why I find it so hard to forgive myself. Did either of these incidents qualify as sin? No. Carelessness? Not really. I pride myself on being a cautious driver and on not forgetting appointments.
I can cut others slack or extend them grace when they blow it, but it’s harder to do the same for myself. It’s ludicrous. Do I think God can’t forgive a fender-bender or a memory lapse? Of course not. So why did I continue with the flagellation and self-recriminations over the dented car (which a body mechanic fixed good as new) and the missed lunch appointment (which the author graciously allowed me to reschedule.)
I finally figured it out. It’s pride. That ugly five-letter word with the ego-centered “I” smack in the middle. I didn’t think that I was the kind of driver who damages other vehicles. I’m not the kind of employee who forgets appointments. What a bunch of hooey.
Like every other person on the planet, I am going to make mistakes. Not intentionally maybe (what’s the point of that) but because God made me fallible, finite, human. And if I can forgive others their trespasses, I sure as shootin’ better start forgiving my own as well.
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus told his disciples that there’s nothing said or done that cannot be forgiven. There is no one beyond the reach of God’s grace. There is no sin so heinous that, once confessed, cannot be cleansed (I John 1:9.)
Are you in need of a little forgiveness today? Are you thinking if only I woulda, coulda, shoulda…?
Take it from me, who’s had more than one taste of humble pie recently. When you find it hard to forgive yourself there’s might be an ego lurking nearby, and it could be yours.