Ah, to be the wounded one—the one who gets to be the powerful forgiver. We covet this rare role because we’re usually more sinning than we’re sinned against. And when it comes our turn to show the grace once given us, we linger with the choice, as if it were a heavy thing to pardon what’s been done. We can’t, of course, refuse forgiveness outright: Jesus tied our own forgiveness to the habit of forgiving. But first, a little groveling, we say. Some real contrition, perhaps a tear or ten. Some promises to never—ever—injure us again. And so we fall far short of grace. We strike a lender’s bargain with the sinner: pardon only if the penitent submits to our superiority. But grace is always washinbg someone’s feet—abandoning all power in the goal to make the sinner whole. We cannot—dare not—charge for what was freely offered us. If it’s not free, then it’s not grace. Remind yourself of how forgiveness made you valuable to you. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
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