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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Highest Compliment I've Ever Received

Bertram is Trapped
All's Well that Ends Well

That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart” (Matthew 18:35 NLT). For parable underpinning this verse see Matthew 18:23-34. (Click here)

How can we forgive, yet not encourage irresponsibility? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1367).

Today I received the highest compliment I’ve ever received. Amy (my co-worker for about 9 years) was printing out past due notices from the accounting system that handles all charges for the City’s recreation programs. She archly asked me wouldn’t I like to have her job sending out such notices. I replied, “Not at Christmastime—I wouldn’t want to be a Grinch.” Joe (sitting nearby) said ‘We should make Wayne manager of all Collections.” Whereupon Amy emphatically ejaculated , “Wayne is the LAST person you would want in charge of collections!” I replied, “Amy that was the highest compliment I’ve ever received.”…..and I meant it.

Why did her comment please me so? Because it’s proof that others perceive I have a forgiving heart. My natural inclination regarding a past due account would be something like this: “Well I know they had good intentions and fully intended to pay unless hit by hell or high-water—and hell AND high-water are precisely what hit them from the side. I know they will pay eventually. Let’s give them some more time. They really needed to have their children in our program.” In short, when I consider the big picture I give everyone a FICO score of 850. (And everyone knows today without a good credit score you might as well be dead.)

But the Serendipity Bible question for today asks an important question, “How can we forgive, yet not encourage irresponsibility?” Well, as for the past due account, we might ask for a partial payment schedule. But of course this question exceeds money matters.

Forgiveness cannot be the foolish addiction of silly wimps. God asks that we have a repentant heart—and something of this quality is important in human affairs as well. Certainly a jury of one’s peers can be greatly influenced by an obviously genuine expression of repentance. Repentance means that one has a deep appreciation for the extent of the infraction and the awesome seriousness of trust violations.

Trust defined: Have confidence or faith in; "We can trust in God" (WordWeb Pro).

assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something: one in which confidence is placed (Merriam-Webster).

When we place trust in others, and when that trust in unwarranted, we as trust givers are indicted as well as the perpetrator. Our judgment, even our character, can be called into question. Thus, when I violate a trust, there is not only an immediate failure to perform; there is an active assault upon the character of another. There is a sense in which betrayal of trust rises to the level of criminality unless redeemed by palpable and unavoidable impinging contingencies.

Yet, even so, as for me personally, I will typically risk getting burned. But once burned, I will insist on genuine repentance. Which concept, by the way, was the lynchpin for my idiosyncratic reading of Shakespeare’s All’s Well that End’s Well.

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