On a hot, humid summer afternoon, I was at the gas station getting slushies with the kids to cool off and in the parking lot I saw this truck.
Hey! I’ll take a picture of this because I’m sure someday I’ll be able to use this to write about in a blog post!
So...that’s a creative advertising tactic to get someone’s attention. Yeah...of course anyone who’s in an accident wants to be forgiven.
It may be easy for an insurance company to guarantee forgiveness because that’s their market. But it’s not as easy being a forgiver when it comes to relationships.
For 15 days now, the keyboard has been typing away about guarantees that bring hope, but today for the first time, I’m stuck.
Honestly, I’m sitting here looking at a screen filled with random sentences and none seems to flow together. Broken promises and forgiveness are tough ones when you have about 20 minutes to write about something that’s a lot more complex.
So I stopped.
I had to get my mind off of writer’s block, so instead I go and open a book I’ve been needing to read and during this moment of quietness, that I had originally reserved for writing, God, the Giver of all things gave me this gift – the chapter I was going to read was about forgiveness. I had no idea I’d open the pages to that chapter and it would be about what I was struggling to write about - the need for forgiveness.
It’s the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. She writes not only about the act of forgiving but also how we must go beyond forgiveness. “Going beyond forgiveness is sometimes more difficult than the initial act of forgiving.”
One of the things the author suggests is to make a list of all the people that has been hard to forgive in the past. Honestly, it took me a while to really remember times when I’ve had to forgive others. But the more I thought of that suggestion I began to realize that the person that has been the hardest to forgive in my life is myself.
I know I’m too hard on myself sometimes. Is that the perfectionism in me? I’ve tried to promise myself that I’d become a “better person” and that’s where I’ve found it a challenge to fix that broken promise with forgiveness.
Broken promises are like old, broken records that repeats those same words over and over in our minds. They’re reoccurrences we’d rather not be reminded. Sometimes out of anger from that damaged record – or life - you just want to grip it tight in your hands and tear it into pieces.
Promises I’ve given myself have played over and over again in a life that has some scratches and broken pieces. I’ve broken so many promises with myself.
I promise I’ll spend more time playing with my kids.
I promise I’ll try to be a better wife, mom and friend.
I promise I’ll take longer walks for more exercise.
I promise I’ll pray every day.
I promise I’ll volunteer more at school, church or the retirement community.
I promise I’ll overcome that spell of depression all by myself.
I promise I’ll try to be better at...everything.
I promise I’ll keep my promises.
Ok, here’s another analogy: Broken promises are like a New Year’s resolution. I think I’ll be able keep it but it lasts only for a little while but then it’s forgotten or ignored. It all boils down to this: the promise is broken.
And then frustration and anger with myself begins to boil and that’s when the sharp tongue, loud voice and grumpy attitude arise.
During some of those bouts, I’ve made regrets that I wish would disappear like the forgiveness God has given me that’s so easy to forget. But they’ve been hard to forget: That night I yelled at my daughter. That conversation when my selfishness hurt my friend. That time when I avoided a needed conversation just because I knew the conflict would make the other person be upset a little bit longer.
My regret of personal promises I’ve broken wounds my heart and soul and I can’t imagine how much more it’s hurt someone else’s. Why should I forgive myself? I don’t deserve to be.
When discussing this personal revelation about myself with a friend today, she said, when I harbor and hold onto regrets and broken promises, I’m discarding why Jesus did what He did on the cross for me. I have sinned from not forgiving myself.
He forgave. He forgives. He summons us to forgive those who have hurt us...including ourselves. Even though we don’t deserve to be forgiven.
When we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. (1 John 1:9 GNT)
It’s a promise of forgiveness that God will never break because He is the God who is the Forgiver of all people who repent to Him. He proved that promise as He was flogged, beaten and nailed to a wooden cross. And He did all of that because of the love He promises us.
His love has no boundaries.
His love conquers regret.
His love truly forgets wrongdoings and our broken promises.
Those promises are on the record I choose that repeats to me over and over the gifts of joy, redemption, hope and that He’ll always love me.
A promise I’ll grip tight in my hands.