“Make the path for your feet level, so that all your ways may be established” (Proverbs 4:26)
Several days ago I was backing out of my garage and messed up big time. I had parked my road bike next to my car…..too close apparently….and when I went to back out, well……it twisted and the wheel sort of came with me.
Cue heart attack here!
I jumped out my car and fortunately the bike seemed solidly intact, not a scratch.
Fast-forward to yesterday. I jumped on my bike to go for a ride and immediately I knew there was something wrong. No sixth sense or special insight needed, I had the handlebars pointed straight but I was going in circles.
I tried to fix the problem while riding, but no luck: my loopty-loop continued. A curious look from a little girl walking by finally caused me to stop and get off to inspect the bike. During my bike’s encounter with my car, the handlebars had been twisted out of alignment with the wheel. I ride bikes, I don’t fix them, and so I carried it into the garage until I could get it fixed.
As I walked into my garage I realized that my bike isn’t the only thing a little out of alignment lately. Have you ever driven a car that needed an alignment? The variance seems slight at first but if you continue to let the car go in that direction, eventually it will pull you completely off track.
Well, in the course of all my recent circumstances I have felt a chasm building between me and my family. Life has been extremly bumpy for me lately, and in the process I have allowed a distorted sense of self-reliance to pull me away from the ones I love the most.
I’m being really transparent here because God gives us very clear instruction on what to do in these circumstances. In Matthew the Word instructs us that if at any moment in the process of an offering to God we remember a conflict or quarrel with our brothers/sister we are to leave our offering and go “be reconciled with them; then come [back] and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
Each day on this Lenten Journey I have come before God with a heart of sacrifice. Today, I couldn’t go another step on this without getting back in alignment. Most of us think that making amends has to follow a contentious moment where you have actively wronged someone, but I beg to differ. Sometimes you inflict wounds on others and the only person that is aware of it is you. And since you know, it will continue to pull you off the course until you make it right.
James 5:16 says for us to “confess our sins”. Another commentary translates it as “confess your fails”. As I reflected on this I realized there were moments where God could’ve used my situation to develop or minister to individuals in my family in certain ways. I robbed them of that opportunity. That’s a fail. And that transgression, is a debt I cannot ignore.
So before I make another offering to God, I want to turn to my family and ask for their forgiveness. Why here? Why this way? Because when your give light to a wrong it loses its power. And when it comes to pride/over self-reliance it is a flaw that can only be rooted out by humility. So it is with a fully naked and repentant heart that I ask my family:
Will you forgive me?
Forgive me for not being strong enough to be vulnerable.
Forgive me for letting walls come up where there should have been bridges.
Forgive me for not having the courage to ask for your prayers when I needed them the most.
Forgive me for not letting you know I needed you when I did?
Forgive me for not allowing you to love me and stand by me.
I’m so tired of going in circles.
To all my family reading this, I love you so dearly. I need you….I need “us” to get back on track.
Today I encourage you to search your hearts. We carry so many hidden weights in our lives unforgiveness, bitterness, strife, gossip, judgment. We walk around with this entitled sense of woundedness and are so quick to stack up debts against people. But who gave us the right? We. who have been freed from an unpayable debt by the very blood of Jesus. Nobody owes you as much as you owed Him.
So, search your heart today and be bold enough to make amends. God wants to heal. God wants to restore. And you’ll find that the place that was in the greatest need of His touch was inside of you.
Let’s pray: Dear God, we want to thank You for Your son Jesus; his life, sacrifice, and resurrection. We know that it was through his blood that we experienced the remission of sins. Lord, You forgave us when we had an impossible debt of sin. We did not deserve it, yet You gave it to us. Help us to be reminded of all that You have done and allow us to extend that same grace unto others. When we feel wronged, Lord help us to forgive. When we have wronged others, let us take responsibility for our transgression and ask for forgiveness. Let there be no quarreling or foolish strife among us. Help us to walk in love and light. In Jesus name, Amen.