Category Archives: May 2022 Chips

To Whom Do I Owe Forgiveness?

To Whom Do I Owe Forgiveness?

My brain keeps coming back to the same topic when I consider what to write about in my article on forgiveness.

For six months we cared for two toddlers through the Safe Family program. We were asked to adopt them a few months into caring for them and we agreed. Several months after agreeing to adopt them, their father decided he wanted to have some custody of the girls. So, the girls were ripped from our home and put back into the care of their mother, who had asked us to adopt them. After all this, their father has seen them four days out of the last month and a half.

So it’s to their father that I owe forgiveness.

If I think of it from the perspective of the girls, I cannot get there, to forgiveness. I cannot push my heart that far up the forgiveness hill. The journey is too far and my heart too heavy.

But, if I think of their father as an individual, a human struggling in this world, it’s more possible to find forgiveness.

I too am a struggling human in this broken world. I make all kinds of rash choices. I have made plenty of messes for myself and others to deal with. I cut people down. I’m short with my kids and husband. I am selfish and want what I want regardless of how it affects others. When I finally turn my head to look fully in the mirror, I see a lot of mistakes and poor choices and sin.

Thankfully, the Lord can wipe that away and replace what I see in the mirror with His image. Pure beauty and love and truth.

Thankfully I don’t have to push my heart into forgiveness. All I have to do is open my hand to find the gift of forgiveness already inside my fist.

And so, I can offer forgiveness to their father. He is a human, struggling just like me.

Lindsey Ungs
Connection & Communication Architect

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    I Used Up the Coffee Creamer

    I Used Up the Coffee Creamer

    Every time we are asked to write articles on the theme on forgiveness, my brain hits a blank and full writer’s block hits hard.  I feel like I’ve told all my good stories of forgiveness, and all that are left are my dumb stories of forgiveness.

    You know how in the Bible there are the MAJOR prophets like Isaiah and Daniel, and then the MINOR prophets like Nahum, Amos, and the other little ones that are hard to name?

    These are my MINOR forgiveness stories.

    Like today—I was moving baby from my arms to my shoulder and my fingernail snagged her nose and scratched her, resulting in instant tears and momma saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry, sweetheart! Mommy didn’t meant to scratch you.”

    Or yesterday, I accidently dried my 9-year-olds favorite hoodie after lecturing him to never dry it because it would probably shrink and not fit anymore. Oops.  I had to tell him and apologize.

    Earlier this week, I had the table all setup for dinner—burger buns √, ketchup √, baked beans √, mustard√, plates √, chips √.  We all sat down to dive into our burgers and had no drinks, napkins or silverware.  A minor irritation, but still resulted in an, “I’m sorry.”

    This morning I dropped my curling iron which bounced from countertop to floor, making a giant CLUNK orchestra on it’s escapade to the floor in the upstairs bathroom.  It woke up two of the older boys earlier than needed.  “I’m sorry!” I quickly professed to them.

    Sunday, I gave the worship team one set of words, and another set to the tech team. They didn’t match. It caused confusion. I’m sorry!

    I spilled my coffee on the carpet…

    My lunch exploded in the microwave and I left the mess for someone else to clean up…

    I didn’t fill the Keurig for the next person…

    I didn’t return a text, email, voicemail in a timely manner…

    I shut my office door because I’m not in the mood for people…

    So many minor things that require a quick and easy apology.  Small, but not to be overlooked.

    Or this article—it’s technically 17 days late and I’ve been whining about having writer’s block without really even trying.  So Jennifer—I’m sorry! I’m going to double proofread it so you don’t have to fix too many grammatical errors!

    I often picture forgiveness as this big life-altering event that will radically change the course of events. Sometimes it works that way. But maybe, more often than not, it happens in the little moments, the silly mistakes, the ‘oopsies’ and day-to-day grind. And perhaps these little moments prepare us for the big, life-changing forgiveness narrative when it comes.

    By the way, Rick, I used up the rest of your favorite coffee creamer this morning.  I should have seen it was low and used less so you’d have some when you got up.  My selfish self wanted all of it. I’m sorry!

    Leah Carolan
    Director of Worship & Media


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      The Practice of Forgiving

      The Practice of Forgiving

      Jesus said some very challenging things about forgiveness. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15). That is a tough one. It ranks up there with loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us. These difficult sayings make it easier to talk, or think, or write about forgiving – anything to divert our attention from the actual practice of forgiving.

      Forgiving is hard and I suppose that is one reason for the parable of the unmerciful servant which came after Peter asked: “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 

      “No, not seven times,” Jesus says, “but seventy times seven! (Matthew 18:21-22)

      We are the kind of people who forgive and I, like you, am working on it. I’ve appreciated the novelist Ann Lamott’s advice from her book, Traveling Mercies, “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” 

      She also wrote, “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You’re done. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to have lunch with the person.”

      Another piece of Lamott’s advice stuck with me. She suggested that if we are just learning how to forgive then don’t start with Adolf Hitler. Start with something smaller – like the guy who cuts you off in traffic, or the neighbor whose dog wakes you up in the morning, or your kids.

      Now, stop thinking about forgiveness, and go practice forgiving someone.

      The Lord be with you,

      Kent Landhuis
      Pastor of Teaching & Leadership

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