DayBreaks for 03/06/13 – Calvin and Hobbes on Forgiveness
One of my favorite cartoon strips was Calvin and Hobbes. You may read them regularly. If you are unfamiliar with them, Calvin is a little boy with a very active imagination with a stuffed tiger, Hobbes, who comes to life as his imaginary friend. They share many ventures together which form the theme of the strip. Calvin has a bit of the rebel in him, one might even say a bit of a mean streak at times, but one has the sense that deep down inside, he means well.
In one cartoon strip, Calvin turns to his friend Hobbes and says, “I feel bad I called Susie names and hurt her feelings. I’m sorry I did that.” Hobbes replies, “Maybe you should apologize to her.” Calvin pauses, thinking about Hobbes’ suggestion, then replies: “I keep hoping there’s a less obvious solution.”
Perhaps the reason that I like Calvin and Hobbes so much is that I have a streak of Calvin in me. I suspect that to varying degrees, we all do! A case in point: we have trouble accepting those whom God accepts because we take God’s acceptance for granted and God’s forgiveness as our right.
In the story of the prodigal son, we are much like the older brother who prefers justice to mercy. As Lee Greiss put it: “We have worked for what we have (or so we think), and it’s unfair that everyone else should not have to do the same. We have earned God’s favor (or so we think) by “staying at home.” We have merited his acceptance by the good life that we live. So how dare God receive and accept our sinful brother who has returned home saying he’s sorry.”
You may look and look and think and ponder to find a way around apologizing to someone we’ve wronged, or even simply hurt with some misguided words or actions. Simply put, there is no less obvious, or humbling of a solution than to just say a heartfelt “I’m sorry.”
We are to say that to God when we hurt Him through our sin. And we are to say it to one another, too. Asking forgiveness is typically the first step on the road to reconciliation and restoration. Will you take that step today with someone you need to ask to forgive you?
PRAYER: Our egos and pride are so huge, Lord, that it crushes us sometimes to have to admit our failings and to ask someone to forgive us. Break down our pride. Let us be honest with You about our sin against you and against others! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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