Monthly Archives: July 2012

Hope for a sinner like me

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Forgiveness

Jenny and the 2 oldest girls are on a sewing retreat this weekend.  Really should be doing some work because I have a huge deadline Monday and all the little ones are sleeping at the moment.  Right now, I’m just enjoying our brand new a/c and some quiet.

But something’s been bugging me for a long time and recently things have come up to remind me about this issue of forgiveness.

Yesterday on my way home, I stopped by the local gas / convenience store to fill up and take full advantage of “Sodapalooza” – any 32 oz. fountain drink for $0.49.  When I went in to buy my Sprite Zero, the kid (and I mean he couldn’t have been a day over 16) looked at me and said “we’re good!”  I paused and probably had a really confused / borderline ticked-off look on my face.  He was trying to tell me that the soda was no charge.  Eventually, his manager? translated for me and told me it was ‘free’.  My confusion, of course, was because I was expecting there to be a cost for my drink.

Everything has a price.  Every choice you make will have a consequence.  It’s an interesting concept that we learn about it at a very young age.  You do something right.  There is a reward.  You do something wrong.  And you get punished.  Sometimes, you receive mercy or grace — meaning, you are cleared of wrongdoing but didn’t have to pay the price.  But the economist will tell you that nothing is free.  SOMEONE had to pay / absorb the cost.

When you’ve caused some sort of harm or foul against another person, and you know you’ve done it, you have basically a few choices to make.  As far as I can tell, there’s no single group of people who tend to favor one approach over another.  Conservative or liberal, wealthy or poor, religious or atheistic — I’ve seen theses reactions among them all.

  1. You can deny your action was a wrongdoing.  You may justify your Means for an End that’s of great importance.  Some people are so focused on getting to a goal that they’ll do whatever it takes to get there.  If they bend the rules a bit or skip a couple of steps, it’s okay in their minds because getting to the destination is of utmost importance.
  2. You can play dumb or try to divert attention away from your wrongdoing.  Some people know what they’ve done is wrong, but they never own up to it.  They’ll dance around or change the topic when it comes up.  These people may go their whole lives pretending that wrongdoing never happened and live in complete denial.
  3. You can try to make up for the wrongdoing by doing exceedingly more good.  These folks are very similar to group 2 except they just can’t live with the knowledge that there’s an 800 lb elephant always in the room.  So in order to make up for it, they’re constantly trying to do good deeds, give you gifts, or laud praise over you.  In their minds, they’re not ready to admit guilt necessarily, but they’re hoping that anything you hold against them might be outweighed by all the goodness they’ve done since.
  4. You can admit what you did was wrong, confess, and ask for forgiveness.

Now, I suppose there’s a 5th group that just doesn’t care.  They know what they’ve done is wrong.  They don’t feel the need to justify themselves.  And they have no problem telling you that they know what they’ve done is wrong, but they don’t care.

Back to the first group of people.  These people are probably the least upsetting to me because in their minds, they’re doing some greater good.  So, when an investment broker milks billions of dollars from clients in a ponzi scheme or when a politician passes laws protecting his friend’s business at the expense of others’ or when a soldier in combat starts killing anyone that remotely looks suspicious including women and children — all of these people are usually justifying their actions for some other perceived “good”.  Sure, there may be some collateral damage along the way, but that’s just the price of ____ (read: the greater good).  The thing about this group is they don’t seek your forgiveness.  They don’t see a need for it.  In that respect, I guess that’s another reason why they’re the least upsetting to me. Not malicious, but let’s say misguided.

The second group is the most cowardly in my opinion.  I get that facing your wrongdoings is hard, but pretending it never happened just makes you look dumb.  It’s usually because of fear, or worse PRIDE, that prevents these people from facing up to what they’ve done.  If you are so full of pride that you’re unwilling to own up to what you did, then you’ve got a hard reckoning coming your way someday.  And when it does, you won’t find anyone willing to stand by your side.  This group of people doesn’t necessarily want to be forgiven because that would also require admitting guilt.

The third group is actually what’s prompted me to write tonight.  There are those that truly believe that doing enough good can outweigh the bad.  They’re known as CHILDREN.  Kids will suddenly become more than willing to help out around the house, do their chores, tidy up their rooms, take out the trash, etc. when they’ve done something they’re not supposed to have done.  And what do we, as parents, usually say?

“Alright, what have you done?”

And why do kids do this?  It’s because they FEAR what will happen when they admit fault.  Maybe my parents won’t love me as much anymore.  Maybe I’ll have privileges taken away.  Maybe I’ll be grounded.  Whatever the punishment is, wouldn’t you agree that coming clean from the git go will result in SOOO much better results than if we find out much later on our own?

Sadly, many adults aren’t that far off from kids in this group.  As I wrote, maybe they start being extra nice to you or start giving you more gifts.  Maybe they lay low for a while and hope that “time heals all wounds” and that eventually, you’ve forgotten all about that silly little incident.

I’m here to tell all of you — YOU CANNOT BE FORGIVEN FOR SOMETHING WITHOUT ADMITTING NEED (GUILT) AND ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS.  It’s a logical impossibility.

Now, some people never forgive anyone.  They will hold that one thing over your head for the rest of your life.  In my opinion, you don’t need those people in your life.  And if you’re dealing with someone who will never forgive in the first place, I guarantee Justifying the End, Denying the Existence of Wrongdoing, or Overloading on Good won’t satisfy these people either.

But — if you want to restore a relationship with someone, a relationship that has been separated because of something you had done to cause harm to the other party, the sooner you admit your fault, confess, and ask for forgiveness, the faster the two of you can get back to healing and restoring your relationship.  We can’t be right with each other until that’s taken place.  By doing anything else, you are only prolonging the healing and restoration.

More Random Updates

Wow, has it really been 3 months since my last post?  I guess I’ve been busy.

Where to begin?

School.  I have decided to tap the brakes on my MS Accounting degree – at least for a little while.  It’s just too much for Jenny and the kids to bear at the moment.  Going to finish out the semester but take a break from the Fall semester.  It will still be here when i’m ready to come back.

Health is still going to plan.  Trying to maintain a nice, even BMI /weight range for now.  Of course, my mom now thinks I’ve lost too much weight and looking unhealthy.

Work.  Been extremely busy, but I’ve been given lots of opportunities to participate in some pretty important meetings, analytics, and projects.  I feel like I’ve built a good working relationship with my team, my boss, and partners across other lines of business.  I’m also hoping to have some good news to report in a few days or so.

Church.  2 of the 3 elders have left in the last month for various reasons, though a lot of it ‘feels‘ like there’s been some bad blood.  As a result, there’s a lot of turmoil and uncertainty right now.  A couple dear families have also left.   My family and I are daily seeking God’s direction.  There have been a few good things to come out of all the chaos.  But i’m praying that God will make His will known to me so that I can lead my family.

Repairs.  Our house is about 7 yrs old. We have 2, original A.C. units – one for each floor. Well, the larger, downstairs unit died a couple weeks ago. Thankfully, it’s been raining, and we’ve had a relatively mild TX summer ever since. But the one unit can’t keep the whole house cool when it’s 110 outside.

I had 4 companies come out to give me their sales pitches.  And for those of you who have never been shopping for AC, it’s a nightmare.  Imagine inviting a bunch of used car salesmen into your home to spout off a bunch of confusing, technical sounding jargon and trying to convince you that everyone else out there in their industry is crooked and thieves, but THEY are going to be honest and trustworthy. And you know there’s no uniformity of quality / service because prices range all over the map.  I got quotes as low as $6000 and and as high as $12,000.

Seriously?!?

And of course, they’re counting on the fact that you can’t tell one from another so, if you don’t do your research and comparison shop, you will surely get taken.

Anyway, one older gentleman came to the house that sounded legit, his prices were very reasonable, and I felt like I could trust him.  Most likely going to hire him in the next few days, but that’s a big chunk of change that I wasn’t planning on spending this summer.  The upside is that his prices were reasonable enough that I’m considering replacing both units – instead of waiting for the other one to die as well.  We’ll see.

Politics/News.  Don’t want to spend too much time here other than to say that I’m not looking forward to the ramp up for the Presidential race.  Can’t stand either candidate and I hate having to explain to my friends and family that Romney is just as bad, if not worse in some cases, as Obama.

Does anyone else think the Olympics is a major non-event this time around?  Seriously, I haven’t paid attention to anything Olympics related.  No clue what’s going on, though I’ll admit I didn’t really pay much attention to it in previous years either.

Looking forward to our family summer vacation in less than a month.  Driving to Williamsburg, VA and meeting my parents there.  Kids are looking forward to just spending time around the pool for the most part, but we’re also planning on hitting some of the historical sites.  Jenny’s been making up kids’ colonial costumes to wear in the historic districts.  I’m looking forward to it because it will mark the end of the summer semester, the end of a major forecast cycle at work, and just completely relaxing for a week.