Enduring pain isn't about how many times one has been knocked down but how many times one chooses to get back up. If this is remotely true, then some of us should be Phi Betta Kappas on struggle and perseverance. What does it mean then to reduce our errs? You may be thinking, "Is errs even a real word?" For this blog, let's pretend it is.
The other day, I bumped into the oft quoted Alexander Pope who said, "To err is human; to forgive, divine." Okay, I didn't actually bump into him personally but into his quote. I believe he lived in the 1600 and 1700s. Well, anyway, I have been chewing, gnawing, and trying to digest his quote.
I suppose if my errs are many I would hope they would all be pointed mostly toward me. I believe I could always learn from my personal errs. It would be good if I could reduce those errs to a minimum though. On the other hand, if my errs have fallen on family, friends, and total strangers then I really need to find effective ways to reduce these errs. When someone errs toward me, I'm the one who must decide if forgiveness is in the offing. In fact, it becomes imperative that I try to live in the latter part of Pope's quote.
If the art of forgiveness is sorely lacking in me personally that is a problem. I suspect in society this art of forgiveness is a growing edge for many. Oh, there are those who exude holiness out of every pore of their body. These folks can offer forgiveness and move on with little spiritual burden. For the rest of us though, offering forgiveness is like trying to push a 200 pound rock up a mountainside. Maybe two steps forward and three steps back.
Living as a follower of Jesus requires me to reduce my errs (Period). I'm thinking of the times in scripture where we're told / commanded to love one another and those commands don't come with much wiggle room. Scripture does not say nor did Jesus ever say, err and maim people as often as you like.
Perhaps the issue in society as a whole is that we choose to build into the command "to love one another" as much wiggle room as we can. Wiggle room deflects our need to live into the model of forgiveness Jesus offered.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34a, NIV)
Wiggle room doesn't allow for honest introspection of our own motives, misgivings, and pain. We buffer all of that by lashing out at another in hopes of staying insulated from the all encompassing notion of forgiving and acting godly in all of our interactions.
It is a tall order to model our life after one who is holy and second person of the Trinity. It seems too high a task for any mortal. Yet, isn't this exactly why Jesus died and redeemed us? Isn't this why we experience death to our old self and birth to our new life in redemption? Yes, on both counts.
Paul in his letter to the church in Philippi, exhorted, commanded, and admonished the believers to have the same mind as Christ Jesus. BOOM! No wiggle room! No rationalizations! No excuses!
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any
fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-
minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain
conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own
interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:..."
(Philippians 2:1-5, NIV)
If you, like me, experience many errs in life, carefully inspect each one. If these errs fall on us, learn from them and seek ways to reduce them. If our errs fall on those around us, then let's resolve to reduce them, seek forgiveness from those we have wounded, and seek to live more wisely...more holy, and more like Jesus.
"A Musing Pastor"