Your Big Blue Cleaner Bottle
There is nothing more satisfying to me than washing a spit-spattered bathroom mirror with blue cleaner, listening to the SQUEAK at the end. I love the strong smell of ammonia or whatever is in that dollar store brand bottle, So clean and antiseptic. I can look up into the mirror no matter what my reflection is and it’s spotless! Maybe my shirt is dirty from the tub or my hair is out of control with frizz, but the girl looking back from the looking glass is clean!
Now this refreshing moment of my life ends quite quickly. Someone will sneeze, or blow their nose, or wash their hands a bit too excitedly and ruin the beautiful, pristine glass. There will be dots of toothpaste on it in less than 10 hours. Or worse, which I will not get into. My elation of cleanliness is fleeting. But it’s ok. I have the economy size blue cleaner bottle under the sink ready to go.
Forgiveness should be your blue cleaner bottle. In the Bible Peter asked Jesus “how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” (Matthew 18:21) Now, I have no idea why the number seven was important to Peter. I am sure our theological experts have those answers. The issue I have was the response Jesus gave him- “Seventy-seven times.” Are you kidding me?
Now my youngest boy would take this literally. He would write down in his journal how many times his friend was “mean to him” and dutifully forgive him exactly seventy-seven times. And on the seventy-eighth time he would say “HA! You are out of forgiveness from ME!” Something tells me, that is not what Jesus means. But he’s just a kid. We, as adults, are so much better at counting, right? Well,
When have you told someone, who asked you for forgiveness, “This is the last time…” Or encouraged someone else to, “get over that person!” There are lots of people out there who are not good for us and bring us pain. But when do we have the right to chose whom we forget? Jesus didn’t point out which of us is on the “naughty” list. He ain’t Santa! He said to forgive period.
This is hard to do because we want revenge or retribution or justice. We don’t want to just forgive and go forward. We want to stew in our own righteousness that we have been wronged.
None of us are heart-readers. I can’t see deep in your heart to know if you really mean it. But that’s not my pay grade. When you tell me you are so sorry you are late for the 20th time, I really want to believe it. And if it happens again, I want to forgive you again. Because if I don’t forgive you why would you forgive me? And worse, Will Heavenly Father forgive me as well?
There is a lot of sticky icky filth on the mirror out there. And when you take your blue bottle of cleaner and wipe it away, there is still a person there. Maybe beautifully made up with perfect hair or me with dirty shirt and frizz. Forgiveness is a precious, precious thing. It wipes it all away. It enables you to live and breathe and love without trying to put people on lists of “naughty or nice.” Just some of us need the big economy size blue!
-- Jess Summerlin