Is It Really Easier?

September 16, 2009 at 4:56 am 1 comment

To ask forgiveness, that is? Or have recent events proved that permission may be the better way to go?

I have read about more mea culpas in the past week than I care to know about. Whether it’s in politics or entertainment, it seems as if the trend is to mess up, then clear the air with a semi-heartfelt apology.

That doesn’t work for me. As anyone who has any interaction with people would know, once you say the words, they’re out there. An apology doesn’t erase the damage done. In a marriage, it’s so easy to say hurtful things to the person you love the most. In friendships, we all know “mean girls” (or guys) who just say rude, catty things that hurt. We know people that love to “one-up” us.

And while an apology helps, it doesn’t take away the fact that they said it. It’s always there to remind you that someone had that thought at one time, regardless of how guilty they feel about it now.

I’m aware that it is impossible to go through life without saying something hurtful at some point. I know I will! I just think that using an apology as an excuse to shoot your mouth off about whatever comes into your mind is a terrible way to relate to people.

We live in a world of Too Much Information. Anyone can comment on any news article, video, picture, tweet or status update if they feel so inclined. We put ourselves out there, and should be ready for the consequences, regardless of what they are. God made our brains to be able to form opinions and have thoughts and feelings about things that matter to us, but the world has given us the opportunity to share those thoughts with the rest of humanity. There is no more mystery. We no longer have to wonder what being a movie star would be like. We see their every move. We can live vicariously through any celebrity we want, and then talk about them as if they were our crazy neighbor.

I think Kanye West is a primo example of someone who would MUCH rather ask forgiveness than permission. Permission is not in his vocabulary. He never has to ask if he can do anything. He only answers to himself, and apparently, his answer to himself is always, “Yes”. He can apologize all he wants, and he will, because the apology keeps him where he wants to be…in the news.

I have felt pretty sorry for people who don’t know who he is, or care about any of this. For example, my sweet grandparents watch the news every night. I’m sure they have had to see the replay of his obnoxious interruption of Taylor Swift’s speech over and over. Most likely, and I could be wrong because they’re cool, they don’t even know who these people are! So why is it headline news? Because that’s how we roll, giving airplay to those who misuse their celebrity and steal from others moments that clearly don’t belong to them.

I am irritated at myself for even writing about this, but this thought has been in my head, and so I wrote all of that to get here: I have imagined that God must be so sad at the state of affairs on this earth he created. I imagine we have hurt his heart badly. I can only assume that he would be disappointed that the people he made in his image and loves so desperately can act so vainly and selfishly. It hurts my heart to think about how it must hurt his.

Then those of us that know him run to him every time we mess up, knowing that he will forgive us, rather than consulting his word BEFORE we make the mistake. I’m terribly guilty of this very thing. We misuse the grace he so freely gives.

So just as I start to think that our selfishness and sin must be the worst it has ever been, I remember the story of Noah. Before God told him to build the ark, this happened (Genesis 6):

5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.”8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Apparently, things were really, really bad with mankind. Quite possibly, things were more evil than we could imagine even with our desensitized brains.

Then, after the flood, God made a promise to never wipe out mankind again. So as sinful as our world is now, God is keeping his promise to not destroy humanity. That tells me that he knew when he flooded the earth that things would be this way. And that tells me he is in complete control of our society, even though it seems to be spinning out of control. He flooded the earth when it was as bad as it could get. He has not had the need to break his promise to us since then. He was aware then, and is aware now of where we are and where we are going as a species.

He knows that we need him. He knew then that he would send Jesus to redeem us. He knows the condition of every single heart that beats on this earth.

My heart can be so ugly. It can be so hard and stubborn and unyielding. It can be ungrateful and petty and selfish. I can act just like I don’t know who in the world he is, and I can forget so easily what he has done for me. And yet he hasn’t flooded the earth because of sinners like me. He instead floods his love and his mercy on me and fills me with all of the goodness of himself. He lets me run to him and call him Daddy. Then I get to start over, with a new and tender heart. I get to learn how much better life is when I get permission from his word, rather then depend on his grace to cover my myriad of mistakes. I’m free, but I need his authority over me. I need his guidance. In those boundaries, I’m free to be who he made me to be.

And that is easier, and more effective, than a press-conference apology any day.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

It’s Quality, Not Quantity… Then We All Held Hands and Sang “We Are The World”

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jo Haynes  |  September 17, 2009 at 12:52 am

    The way your wrote what you just wrote is why I love to read your blog. Once a week, once a month, it doesn’t matter just keep posting when you can.


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