Today I read a very compelling blog post by Bart Campolo about grace, and it probably made me think and ponder more than I really wanted today. To some degree, it made me wonder if I only love the people who are easy to love, or do I make an effort to open my heart to those who aren't so easy to love.
The staff member who bites my head off because she is confused by what seem to be contradictory directions among her peers, the boss who micromanages, the next door neighbor who dislikes me because I don't have the same religious beliefs and on and on. I don't know anyone as difficult as Bart's neighbor, so maybe that also says that I choose to avoid situations where I would have to know someone like that.
It also brought to mind the story of Peter in the Bible, when he asked Christ"Lord, how many times shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Must have seemed like a lot to Peter. Honestly, it seems like a lot to me, too. But then Jesus delivered the shocker for an answer, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." Don't you just want to say, "You gotta be kiddin' me!"
I think the reason Peter asked the question goes deeper than forgiving his brother. I think in our heart of hearts we wonder how many times God will forgive us. How many times can God forgive my sins? I know how hard it is for me to forgive....will God be able to forgive my many failings? And really, God, must I forgive the person who doesn't deserve it?
So I think the next time someone lashes out at me, or is rude to me, or hates me for whatever reason, I will choose to forgive them one more time.