Do you ever love it when you get something, but hate it when someone else gets it, too? Especially when you feel they don’t deserve it?
Imagine that you worked really hard this past year at your job. You killed it. This was your year! You filed TPS reports like nobody’s business. You made cold calls for hours straight without a water cooler break. You never let an email sit in your inbox for longer than an hour without a reply. It sounds like you dominated this year.
You saw your business grow while people like your co-worker, Charlie, floundered in the world of “clock in, clock out.”
Charlie…oh, Charlie… where do I start.
He has never showed up to work within 10 minutes of starting time, and the only days he stays late are when he falls asleep at his desk. He’s a perpetual microwave popcorn burner and has dressed up like “Where’s Waldo” to the company Halloween party for the past 5 years. We get it, Charlie. We found you.
Then, finally, during your year-end review, you get what you’ve been working for all this time. A raise! Cha-ching! This is what you’ve spent the last 365 days a year striving toward. You’re thinking how you’ll celebrate your newfound riches as you strut out of the boss-man’s office when you hear an almost audible buzz going through the office. Everyone is excited. Everyone is happy. Everyone is smiling. Then you hear Charlie say from two cubicles down,
“It looks like everyone is getting raises this year!”
Heart = Crushed
Your interest in a celebratory soiree is depleted and you have to drag the heels of your shoes back to your desk, trying not to leave a trench of sadness dug in the carpet behind you as you slowly shuffle along.
Why would everyone get a raise this year? More importantly, why did Charlie get a raise this year? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him sleeping at his desk. When he’s not sleeping, he’s either commenting on everyone’s Facebook profile pictures with obscure Dr. Who quotes or making lightsaber noises. I mean, Charlie takes more “lunch breaks” than a hobbit. How did he get a raise, too?
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes It’s hard when we see other people getting things they don’t deserve. Especially when it feels like I’ve been slighted in the process.
I heard this song on the radio, and it honestly made me angry at first. Here’s the second half of the chorus,
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
(Mercy Me - Flawless)
“The cross has made you flawless” shouldn’t be an offensive phrase. I love the fact that through Jesus’ death and resurrection my sins have been taken away. My wrongs are cast to the bottom of the ocean floor. They’re forgiven, I’m made clean, I can live my life without crushing guilt.
But what about when someone else, someone who has wronged me, gets to be “flawless,” too.
What do we do when people who has sinned against me is deemed flawless, but in my mind they’ll always be flawed. Unfortunately for me, God doesn’t do much to help me keep my grudges.
Jesus tells us that if we forgive those who sin against us then we will be forgiven by our heavenly Father. However, if we don’t forgive others their sins, we will not receive the Father’s forgiveness (Mark 6:14-15). Yikes.
Jesus doesn’t help us hold grudges. Sure, we are supposed to confront being sinned against. But we are not supposed use Facebook to call out others who have wronged us. Don’t use vague tweets or status updates to raise awareness that you’ve been hurt. Jesus lays out a pretty straightforward way of confronting someone who has sinned against you, and it starts by private conversation. The purpose isn’t so that they’ll feel ashamed and grovel at your feet, either. It’s to be reconciled with you and with God. Conviction leads to the restoration of relationships, not the establishment of a hierarchy. They don’t “owe you” anything if you’ve truly forgiven them.
The cross has made them flawless, and I need to begin on the tough task of offering love and forgiveness, mending our relationship without holding onto a grudge. Unforgiveness is its own dragon to deal with. It’s ugly and, from what we said earlier, keeps us from God.
It’s possible that I need to do some searching within my soul in order to break out of my anti-Charlie mentality. He got something he may not have deserved. Truth is, when it comes to God’s love and forgiveness, I get something I don’t deserve every single day.
John Miller is the Children's Pastor at Crossroads Church in Avon, Indiana.
You connect with him further on social media here: @JohntheMiller