Not long ago I had a conversation with a woman who had made her own blouse. Actually, she made many of her clothes.
I told her I thought that would be so difficult.
When the seamstress is poking and misses by sticking a pin in my skin and she sees me flinch, she might say, "I'm sorry."
I invariably would say, "That's alright."
If it happens more than once or twice, I still manage to be quite civil and forgiving.
I have trouble imagining me being the one poking, missing the mark and sticking a pin in my flesh and then saying to myself, "That's alright."
The conversation, the words, can only be imagined from one who is their own seamstress.
While I am aware of some folk who are much more forgiving of others than themselves, I do believe that most people are much harder on themselves than others.
Jesus' admonition to love others as ourselves is a double-edged sword. It does dommit us to extend the same compassion, the same forgiveness, the same love that we would have for ourselves and our family.
Jesus is also implying a basic truth: we must also love and be forgiving of ourselves as we would others.
We are complex beings. We are sometimes forgiving and sometimes not.
Edward Sanford Martin's poem, "My name is Legion" sums it up.
Within my earthly temple, there's a crowd;
There's one of us that's humble, one that's proud;
There's one that's broken-hearted for his sins;
There's one that unrepentant sits and grins;
There's one that loves his neighbor as himself
And one that cares for naught but fame and self.
From much corroding care I should be free
If I could once determine which is me.
In the meantime I have little fear of sticking straight pins in my body...but if I were to make me a shirt, I'm not sure how kind I would be to the one sticking me.
Larry Metzger - Ponca City Christian - First Christian Church (DOC)
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