So my wife and I thought it would be a good idea to save a few bucks on some furniture for the office in our home by buying it unfinished. Sounds like a good plan, right? I mean, it can’t be that much trouble to stain and paint a desk and chair. That’s what I thought.
To make the story shorter, I’m not good at painting or staining.
image by Sam Hughes
We bought the things a few months ago and I’ve just gotten around to finishing them. I’m not good at it, I don’t enjoy it, it took up a lot of room in our garage, it made a mess of the floor (well, I should probably go ahead and claim that as my fault), and it caused a fair amount of stress because of how long it took for me to finally finish.
But isn’t this sometimes how the Christian life goes? It’s not easy, it takes up a lot of “space” in our life (as if it’s ours in the first place!), it’s messy, stressful, and not fun. Often, God calls us to do things that we don’t want to do. Don’t believe me? Check Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven! I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.’”
Imagine if someone sinned against you in the same way seven times in one day. That’s pretty rough, right? Peter’s no slouch. He’s saying he’ll forgive a person seven times in the same day for the same sin. But Jesus completely blows him out of the water by saying that you are to forgive a person, not just seven times, but seventy times seven! Jesus calls us to forgive…and forgive…and forgive…and forgive…etc. The reason we are to forgive is rooted in God’s forgiveness of us, first of all. We offer grace and forgiveness to others because we realize that we are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. Secondly, we offer forgiveness because judgment is coming. After the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:23-34), Jesus says that God will not forgive us if we do not forgive our brothers from our heart.
This verse causes me to lose sleep at night.
We’re not called to forgive others because we feel like it. If we were to wait until we felt like forgiving people, most of us would never get around to it. We’re called to forgiveness whether we feel like it or not because God has forgiven us, and our debt to Him was beyond anything that any person could ever “owe” us.
I forgive others, not always because I just want to, but because I trust God knows what He’s doing (it’s usually a good idea to trust a God who created the earth and rose from the dead, neither of which I can do).
Ultimately, I’m glad that I bought the unpainted furniture. I saved some money, I am proud that I finished it, and it looks good in our office. It also pointed me to my relationship with God.
What’s He calling you to do today that you don’t want to do?