We drift north across the lake, this gigantic reflecting glass of Heaven.
I lean over the side of the boat, to adjust the line tangled at the end of the fishing rod.
And that’s when I see her, the one so hard to forgive: Me.
She is a reflection in a watery looking glass. She is me — a woman too often tangled in the interior.
Yes, I am a woman hard to pardon, because the same woman who needs to do the forgiving is the one who needs to be forgiven.
Why is it sometimes hardest to forgive ourselves? Why do we hold the longest grudges against our own souls? Why do we distort the Gospel by believing that Christ’s work on the cross is sufficient only for others, but not for us? We are the ones who carry guilt on our backs like rock-filled knapsacks.
The sun sinks lower, past the pines. A loon cries in the wild, and waterbugs skitter across the surface, stitching seams on water-fabric. I am sitting on the front of the boat, with bare feet dangling over the edge. I could sit here — under this darkening dome of Heaven — and relive some old sins. It would be easy to do. The girl below me wants to.
But I tell that girl: I had the courage to forgive you already. Because my Savior had the strength to forgive me.
I untangle the line from the tip of the rod, and I look deeper into the obsidian mirror. Past me, I see it. Heaven: That which is bigger than me. Kingdom of God: That which lives in me.
I remember these solid truths: Jesus Christ’s work on the cross was enough. Our Savior carried the sin of mankind on his back. He can handle it. He covered it.
No sin is too big for a God even bigger.
Neither is our sin too small to lay at the Calvary altar.
He gave it all, our All in All.
Are you having trouble letting it go? Perhaps we all do, from time to time. I carry around past mistakes like a penance, but God never said we needed to do that. He asks for us to come to Him with humble, contrite hearts. He asks us to come to the cross.
Can you drop the knapsack of guilt today and walk away from it? Can you find the courage to forgive yourself, through Christ Jesus?
Consider naming the sin — to yourself and to God. Confess it to Him by writing it on a rock. Then, toss the rock into a river or lake. Or, write your burdens on a slip of paper, and burn the paper.
Father, let us not pick our sins back up again. You said from the cross: “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
Writing in community today with Ann Voskamp, who asks us to consider the Practice of Forgiveness. May I suggest you read her post today if you’ve ever struggled with forgiving a parent? It is a profoundly hopeful piece of writing.