The movie Get Low with Robert Duvall, one of my favorites, tells the story of Felix Bush, the town recluse. Felix’s sin, long in the past, caused a great deal of harm and instead of explaining and asking for forgiveness, he imposed a 40 year self-exile on himself. Now he’s looking to come clean and explain. Here’s a clip with thanks to my new favorite site Wingclips:
How about all of us? What do we do when we sin? Do we place ourselves in self exile, thinking that all we have done is unforgivable? I suppose it’s easy to say that we should seek forgiveness from others, but fear, often our greatest detractor from action, leads us to inertia. What will happen when we seek forgiveness from someone that we’ve wronged? What happens when others are angry at us for something horrible? What happens when we’re found out–that we have done something horrible, irreparable?
That’s where God comes in.
God is always there for us to let us know that we indeed can be redeemed, despite our sin, our evil behaviors. Think of some of your own dark tendencies, the failings that you might have hidden away. I often say that there are dark parts of my soul that I hope nobody ever finds out about, that I have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror–never mind someone else seeing me in that light.
But God already knows those parts of ourselves–and God knows the things that will trip us up, over and over throughout our lives.
God loves us anyway. God choses love freely and without reservation and calls us to do the same to those that have wronged us.
Who is your Felix Bush? Who is a person in your life that you find it difficult to forgive? Who can you not see yourself forgiving?
Can you look at that person with God’s kind of love today—even if for just a minute and let go of resentment and division and open your heart to the possibility that God can forgive that person, even if right now, you cannot? Doing so may just allow God to touch your heart just a bit more, to take one more step in the path of healing and one more step away from withholding reconciliation.
My guess is that whoever did us the most harm is someone who is not a random stranger in most cases, but someone who violated our trust. Trusting again, is indeed difficult and not something that we give away without thought to our own self-protection (in many ways). Perhaps trusting in God’s redemption, not merely for those who have offended us, not merely for ourselves when we wrong someone else, but trusting that God’s redemption heals everything. Redemption makes all things new. Redemption makes our anger melt away and gives us freedom. No longer do our resentments make us slaves to fear, but God makes a new way, out of no way–somehow and someday.
Our prayer today is that we can see that somehow and someday before our somedays are over and that we can offer forgiveness in freedom to another and receive the same from those who we have wronged.