Buttons - "Undo"

Buttons – “Undo”

     What comes to mind when you think of buttons?  Buttons on a shirt or decorative buttons on a child’s dress?  Specialty buttons worn with a logo (smiley face) or question (“Ask Me”) or special event or cause?

     Perhaps you think of buttons on remote control devices such as car key fobs, tv/dvd players, fans, even lights.  Carry a key fob in your pocket and your car horn may go off because you inadvertently pushed its horn button and you may be completely unaware it is your car sounding the horn!

     Press the start “button” and your new device will turn on.  Arrow buttons on dvd players allow us to skip some content or to go back to review something (the old “rewind” button on now obsolete video tape players).  Computers, cell phones, tablets, etc., have buttons (icons as we know them), but they are the kind that we click or simply swipe with our fingers.  One of my favorite buttons is the “undo” button.  It may say undo or it may look like an about-face arrow and goes in the opposite direction like a u-turn symbol; it may be the backspace or delete button.  Either way, the “undo” button is nice because you know if you make a mistake, you can easily correct it; even if you delete something you didn’t mean too, you can hit undo and it re-appears. 

     Other than our memory, life does not have a “rewind” or “undo” button.  Our memory really can only recall what has happened (much to our dismay at times) but it can’t “undo” it and give us the chance to start again. 

     As Christ-followers, our undo button for life is called “forgiveness”.  We can’t go back and undo what we did, but we can ask for forgiveness and the chance to start anew.  I had contemplated this topic over a week ago, not expecting to lose my cool this weekend and saying some things I shouldn’t have.  As I write this now on Monday, I know I will be apologizing for what I did, for God has convicted me that I should do so, and I couldn’t even consider writing this meditation without having done so first.

     Forgiveness is hard.  We may not want to ask for it – we may feel we are in the right and don’t need to ask.  We may not want to grant it – we may feel others should earn it before it is granted to them.

     Yet forgiveness is one of the building blocks of our relationship with God and others.  As we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we hear these words from Matthew 6:12: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  The Holy Spirit convicts us of our trespasses, we ask for forgiveness, God forgives, and in turn we forgive others.  Jesus forgave those who crucified Him even while He was on the cross.  He did so without any expectation of them taking Him down and doctoring His wounds.  He did so without any expectation of them responding immediately with remorse for their actions.  He did so whether or not they loved Him.  He did so because that’s who God is and what God does; He is love and that’s what love does. 

     God knows we need the undo button of forgiveness in our lives.  Otherwise, to not forgive others eats away at us on the inside.  It can stifle our relationship with God and prevent Him from working in our lives.  To not ask for forgiveness, to not receive it, or to think we don’t need it simply puts us on the throne of our lives rather than God and we miss out on what He is waiting to give us.

     Forgiveness doesn’t demand its own way; its essence is God’s way.  It doesn’t undo what we have done; rather He erases, He forgets our sins, our trespasses.  As God and others have granted me forgiveness, am I to do any less for others?

     May we remember Jesus’ words to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22: “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  As many as seven times?’  Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’”

     May we remember that forgiveness is a gift from God, time after time it is a step of growing deeper in understanding His ways.  May we remember that His forgiveness frees us from the bondage of sin and our own self-righteousness.  May we then in turn be the vessel God uses to show his forgiveness to others and free them for kingdom living.  May we experience this divine “undo” button that grants us peace and opens us to living life abundantly.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.