Today’s reading makes me cringe. Yes, cringe. The parable is about a master who graciously forgave his servant’s debt and the servant who, in turn, refused to forgive a debt owed to him by another. I see myself in the servant and I don’t like it one bit. How can I embrace the forgiveness that is mercifully bestowed upon me by God and man, and refuse to do the same for others? I have prayed about this time and time again asking God to teach me ways to forgive. Well, He recently answered my prayer in a very unexpected way.
Thud, crunch, and smash – the telltale sounds of reversing into a parked vehicle. It was my fault plain and simple. Ugh. I got out of my car to assess the damage and saw a scratch and dent on the driver’s door of the older model black pickup truck parked behind my car. I then turned to my car to see a tail light completely shattered. With my head hung low, I dutifully entered a nearby office, with my insurance information in hand, in search of the owner of the pickup truck. I introduced myself and explained what happened and soon met the truck’s owner, Judy. We walked outside to look at her truck and she took one look at her door and said, “Oh, don’t worry about that.”
Surely, I did not hear her correctly. She obviously saw the look of disbelief on my face and said, “It is not a big deal. I would never fix it.” Our eyes then went to my smashed tail light, which I would clearly have to deal with on my own, and she sighed. She looked at me and with outstretched arms, hugged me and said, “I’m sorry you are having a bad day.” Seriously? Here I was getting a loving hug from the woman whose truck I damaged and she was showing concern for me? As I struggled to process her actions, she simply smiled and walked away. I must have been quite a sight as I stood in the middle of road with wide eyes and a gaping mouth. I want to be more like you, Judy, was my only thought.
It seems that Judy’s default response is concern and compassion rather than self-protection and judgment. While forgiveness may not come naturally for me, caring for others does. With a little thought and love, maybe I could turn an offense into an opportunity to care for another. It may not work all of the time, but if it worked even just once, both the world and I would be better off.
Thank you God for sending others into my life to show me the way to You.
Kate Casey, her husband, Jim, and their three daughters live in Keller, Texas.