Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright. (Proverbs 14: 9-10)
The 10 year-old boy visiting our home that day was bored so my wife let him play in the pool room. He was thrilled. His mother soon noticed him touching the cue stick tip and asked him to stop. He removed his hand, declaring, “I’m not touching it!” She caught him again, same result.
“Look at the tip of that cue stick,” my wife winked. Blue chalk. If you aren’t touching it, your hand should be clean, right?” The boy slowly opened his hand to a Smurf-blue palm. He froze. Made no comment. Never did.
Oily hands on a cue tip is no big deal; the larger problem was the boy’s stubborness to admit his fault. Even when caught blue-handed he refused to come clean.
Research supports that pride is a significant road block to admitting our guilt, or even thinking we need forgiveness. People who measure high on “narcissistic entitlement” think they’ve done no wrong, question if apologizing is even necessary, and refuse to accept forgiveness from others. The proverbs writer thinks it’s foolish not to make amends for our sins and ignore how they hurt others.
We’ve all met people like this, who refuse with crossed arms to deal with sin in their life. “I’ve done nothing wrong!” they say. Pride makes it hard to admit and confess our sin. A foolish person continues with crossed arms believing they don’t need forgiveness.
Forgiving takes place in several ways:
(1) We can forgive ourselves for dumb stuff we do; this mental forgiveness helps change our self-talk and self-feelings;
(2) We can ask God to forgive us for specific blunders, and God is waiting to forgive; (3) we can forgive friends and family for their wrong-doing, and apologize for our negative attitude toward them. This allows relationships to flourish rather than get bogged down in past wrongs.
Okay, it’s Smurf-blue gut check time. What’s the color of your palm?
Reflection: how is pride getting in my way of forgiveness? Where is “narcissistic entitlement” present in my own life?
Today’s Challenge: find someone who needs to hear your remorse for bad choices. Come clean for dumb stuff you’ve done. Allow the power of forgiveness to restore your relationships. God forgives us. We can follow his lead in forgiving ourselves and others too.
–Bill Strom, Trinity Western University
* This devotional is included in a book of 365 devotionals on Christianity and Communication Studies, forthcoming, from Integratio Press. All Rights Reserved.