“Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. … I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:1,5, NRSV)
Do you have a pet peeve? Now be honest. Do you have more than one? Again, be honest. A pet peeve is something about which a person frequently complains, often an irritating experience caused by others in which one cannot control. I must admit that I have more than one, and if I am having a particularly rough day, I have an abundance to keep me occupied for hours. How about you? (Need I say ‘be honest’ again?)
Problem is, upon deeper reflection of those various peeves, I come to realize that I have my own personal abundance of shortcomings as well. And when I think deeper about that other person who has slighted me, I come to realize that there is a good chance they did not do so out of malice; thoughtlessness or inconsideration, perhaps, or even an unfolding of events that was outside of their control. I then come to realize that it may be more accurate to assume the best of that person rather than the worst. At least, it gives me a more constructive perspective for the minutes or hours that follow. As well, it puts my mind, and my heart, in a much better position to lift that person up to God. After all, they are not loved any less by God because of my pet peeves.
The amazing thing is that rather than stewing over the particular incident that enflamed my pet peeve, this process of thought always leads me to a better place, a place with more peace and a lot less blood pressure. I should not be surprised because this is a process that enables and leads us into a place of forgiveness—a place that also includes our own repentance, which enables the gifts of God’s forgiveness of us, as well as the other.
Especially during this Christian season of Lent, as we work our way to Easter Sunday, let us not forget that God’s forgiveness brings peace and blessing, and forgiveness is a big part of the gift of love and grace God has given to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Perhaps, then, we may transform our pet peeves into portals of forgiveness that we may be a reflection of God’s way onto others. Just perhaps.
May you know, and be, the peace and blessing of forgiveness… Pastor Bob