The miracle of forgiveness keeps rolling around in my head. And its mandate as well. No doubt they’re connected, and the order matters.
In meditating on the topic this morning, I realized something particular to those of us who serve on a church staff: we see up close—really up close—the reasons forgiveness is needed. And I don’t just mean the stories from the counseling room from those who bring in their scars that we only understand vicariously. I mean the stories from the hurt and pain that everyone one of us have because we’ve been part of the situation, in some way, where the hurt was too close for comfort. Whether intentional or unintentional, at the center of it or on the periphery, receiving the hurt or accused of doling it out, in agreement or disagreement, few people know and see the wounds that can come from well-meaning people with passionate but differing views like those who serve on a church staff. Yes, we have a front-row seat, often a dug-out look, at the reason forgiveness is so vital to a church: people hurt people.
On the heels of that realization about all of us, one verse came bolting out of the starting blocks of my mind—Psalm 32:1-2…
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
As jagged and raw as church life can be sometimes, here’s the wellspring from which we can face the trauma that comes with the territory of being on a ministry’s staff. It’s in the daunting beauty of God’s forgiveness that we find the daring boldness to accept it from others, extend it, live in it, offer it, and encourage it. Truly, it takes the oil of a thousand forgivenesses to keep the love and life of “little c church” from growing cold and heartless. And where does that oil come from? The endless reservoir of the cross of Christ.
Stay close to Calvary today!