Yes, I confess, I swore this weekend – the object of my wrath was the putrid pea green paint that we inherited in one of the bedrooms of our house. I planned this weekend to vanquish the eye ball offending colour yet it was a greater nemesis than I anticipated. As I applied the first coat of wonderfully relaxing ‘stucco’ (somewhere between cream and beige) I realised that this pea green was not going away quickly. After the first coat it looked like looking at peas through a mist. The second coat still had the green peaking through – perhaps those who didn’t know it was there would think it was a paint effect? Finally with the third coat the offensive colour was gone.
Painting is a great time for thinking – otherwise known as talking to yourself in your head- and my thoughts ranged over a number of issues. At one time I was repentant of the purple radiator and door I had a teenager and thankful for the grace of parents who did moan when having to change the colour. At another time I was psychoanalysing the person who put up the offensive paint – who in the right mind would paint a room pea green? It is not even a nice shade of green – it is like mint ice-cream left in the freezer for a few months with the lid off. It reminded me of school locker rooms. But I also thought of how hard it is to cover up mistakes and sin.
When it comes to forgiving someone who has wronged us it is often harder work than we thought it would be. The first coat didn’t do the job – the mistake was still clearly seen. The second coat was promising but on closer inspection the mistake was peeping though. It was the final third and generous coat that brought peace to the room and to my mind. Forgiveness is hard work – many of us give up too early on to truly forgive – after all I am the one who has been hurt so why should I have to work at this? Jesus understood this:
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
In my head this conversation is now changed to how many coats of paint should I cover this person’s sin with? 77 coats! Forgiveness is not easy but thankfully we serve a God who really and truly understands how hard and painful the journey to forgiveness is. His forgiveness is so generous and so sufficient that all our sins and shame are blotted out.
Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
Hebrews 10:10-12 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
God’s forgiveness is lavish, generous and sufficient to blot out all our sins and shame. I pray that I will take after my Heavenly Father in this regard – that I would be generous in forgiveness, even when it is hard work and costly.