Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Heart of the Matter

Flickr photo by DigiDragon, creative commons

"...Ive been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
and my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think its about forgiveness

Do you ever turn on the radio and wonder if God is trying to tell you something?
We were bopping down the road on Sunday, headed for college with a load of stuff too big for Sarah's little car, when Don Henley preached me a message.

Hadn't I just been thinking about forgiveness?
A couple of teens whom I know and love had come to me, frustrated. I listened to their anger and remembered the time long ago when the veil fell and I discovered that adults were just as messed up as everyone else. That they do things they know that are wrong. That they make big mistakes, give in to their weaknesses, and then they put on their Sunday clothes, take a seat in the pew, and pretend nothing ever happened.
Or maybe that's just what it looks like.

I'd listened to the sadness in their voices, the anger at hypocrisy, and I nodded at the feelings I knew so well. I'd said the same thing years ago.
What could I tell them?

I reminded them that we're all human, that we all make mistakes.
I fed them the line someone told me, (old but true,) that church isn't a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners. And I said that this is exactly why Grace is so Amazing.
It didn't satisfy them or make them feel much better, really.

I finally stopped talking, remembering my own disappointment.
It's taken years for life to teach me about grace. In fact, I'm still trying to learn it, to give grace and forgiveness to others, to forgive and give grace to myself.
Grace is God-born. No wonder it's so impossible to patch it together on our own.

No worries, Becky. God will teach them how to do it. They'll need grace and forgiveness themselves, and they'll learn to share it with others.

Don Henley finished his song, and then Todd turned on his Ipod.
First song?
"What Was It That I Just Said," by John Gorka.

...It's not just that my pride's been hurt
Not just that my heart's been bruised
Fell down on my big ideas
It's gotten me a bit confused

Unless you are a true bad boy
Your conscience is a constant threat
Time for a new idea
One to discard regret

Prime time to forgive
Prime time to forget
What was that that I just said?
What was that that I just said?
What was that that I just said?

Oh, worry's such a waste of time
It's better not to second-guess
Maybe I should just pick a town
One where I never made a mess

Move along when the crowd is right
Stand alone when the crowd is wrong
I always had the lone wolf ways
Distilled the instinct to get to gone

Prime time to forgive
Prime time to forget
What was that that I just said?
What was that that I just said?
What was that that I just said?

Okay, God. I hear You!
Maybe I ought to carry around an Ipod when kids talk to me. Do you have any other forgiveness songs to add to my list? :)

Other thoughts on forgiveness? What would you tell my young friends?

Have an awesome Wednesday, y'all!
Love, Becky


Kat said...

What a beautiful post. One I'm sure we all need to read. Thank you. :)

Serenity said...

Oh boy. This one is a doozy isn't it? I heard something about jealousy the other day that works for unforgiveness too. You can hold onto it if you insist, but the object of your passion isn't fazed a bit by it, and you're the only one who suffers.

What I feel about hypocrisy is that the weakness or sin isn't the part that makes it so. It's the mask of perfection. So why do we do that? I have to confess, I do find some friendships outside of the church far more free of that mask. Out here we kind of all admit we're just stumbling along, doing the best we can. I don't know why we can't bring that honesty into the pews. He's the good one, he's the perfect one, and we're all just here to be grateful for it.

I feel awful for your young friends, and like you, I relate to how they feel. And I couldn't have said it I don't think - but the hard (and actually kind of freeing) truth is that we don't get to point to any of that hypocrisy when God asks us how we feel about him and what we did about it. That's a hard one to live out.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Forgiveness, ah the story of my life :-)

What a beautiful, timely post. Just yesterday I told someone I haven't seen in 27 years that I forgive him. This person did some horrible things--some people even said I should just turn my back on him. Once I uttered those words I felt cleansed, renewed, love. But most of all my spirit felt free.

So true Becky, that eventually these people will come to reach forgiveness on their own, with the help of god. It's wonderful they had you to confide in. That is HUGE. I sure wish I had confided in someone when I was younger.

Jenny said...

That Don Henley song is superb. Once we sang it in church and there was such an outpouring of people truly struck by the message that before had been obscured by constant radio play and its "pop"ness. but Forgiveness surely is the heart of the matter...for all of us. Thanks again Rebecca.

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

as commented the other day - recognizing the depths of our own need for grace makes room to rcv it & once rcvd, we know we cannot withold it from another.

praying 'our Father' reflectively rather than by rote would be one suggestion ~
'forgive us our sins as we forgive those who've sinned against us' -
to what extent do we wish our sins to be forgiven? ...

and since you asked for a song ;)-

Well the past is playing with my head
And failure knocks me down again
I am reminded of the wrong that I
have said and done
And that devil just won't let me forget
In this life
I know what I've been
But here in your arms
I know what i am
I'm forgiven
I'm forgiven
I don't have to carry the weight
on who I've been 'cause i'm
Wrong mistakes are running through
my mind
And i relive my days in the
middle of the night
And i struggle with my pain
And wrestle with my pride
Sometimes i feel alone and i cry
In this life i know what i've been
But here in your arms i know
what i am
I'm forgiven
I'm forgiven
I don't have to carry the weight on
who i've been 'cause i'm forgiven
When i don't fit in
And i don't feel like i belong anywhere
When i don't measure up to much in this life
Oh, I'm a treasure in the arms of Christ
'Cause i'm forgiven
Oh, I'm forgiven
I don't have to carry the weight on who i've been
'Cause I'm forgiven

Bradley J. Moore said...

Well, I must say you are winning points from me for good taste in music! I love the Don Henley lyrics (and the song) - the way he comes to that realization, "I think it's about.... forgiveness" Very profound song.
And John Gorka - i'm a diehard folky, and was listening to him years ago while in college.

Anyways, about Grace: All I can say is thank God that it covers me, and it alwasy goes before me. Otherwise there would be no hope.

Karyn said...

I very much remember that same feeling and wondering why I had never seen it before. I didn't realize it was something everyone experienced though. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure just your understanding helped them to know that its just another natural progression of life - to see things more of how they really are.

Mompriest said...

I love it when there is that level of synchronicity in life and when I am able to experience it too.

Angie Muresan said...

Okay, I just got shivers reading that, Becky. So true in my life as well.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Your responses always blow me away.
Thank you, y'all.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Becky, I was just about to write up a post about our fallen humanity. Sometimes, I feel like our hearts are matched up. :) It's hard, this reckoning, at times, but in the end, what it's all about. The fact that we keep trying is the important thing, I think.