Every once in a while, I hit the wrong button or part of the screen on my iPhone, and a dialogue box pops up that says “Nothing to Undo.” While it’s probably silly to admit, I’ve found this reassuring. Comforting, even.
It usually would pop up after I’d sent an email or text message that I was unsure of sending. Maybe I had to say something difficult, or give in, or ask for forgiveness, or make some other sort of painful concession. As I’d be second guessing myself, the message would suddenly appear. I couldn’t help but hope it was God’s little winking way of reassuring me: “It’s ok. You’ve done what you were supposed to do. There is nothing to undo.”
Of course, ‘undo’ in such a tech setting means to ‘erase the last change’ or ‘negate the last command.’ As Christians, we aim to live our lives doing so that there will, indeed, be nothing to undo. Alas, imperfect and flawed creatures that we are, this is not always the case! Many of us live with regrets. We all make mistakes, and sometimes there are indeed BIG things that we must fix/undo. Sometimes these things take years of hard work and suffering to undo. Some things seemingly can never be undone – we resign ourselves to being stuck in the mess we’ve made for ourselves, or the mess others seemingly have made for us.
At our recent Women’s Ministry Spa Day, a blessed one day retreat we held here at Marble, we focused on receiving. After a season of giving, giving, giving (Christmas time) we reinforced that all of us are entitled to…. are worthy of… are in NEED of…. Receiving. Many women (and men for that matter) have trouble receiving. How many of us love watching someone else open presents, especially presents we’ve given them? Then, when it’s our turn, we feel awkward, and do not want the attention to be focused on us? How many of us can’t stand to receive praise? Someone compliments us, and we brush it off, saying, “oh no, I’m really not that great, I’m really not that pretty, in fact I’m pretty terrible and horrible,” etc.? So many of us feel that we are not worthy to receive good things.
Sometimes, the church and religion have been GOOD at making us feel unworthy of receiving. With some other churches having more of a focus on sin, sacrifice and retribution, we have been conditioned to forget about the act of receiving. We can give and give until we are exhausted. What good does that then do?
Yes, yes, giving is good and important. So is receiving. We have received God’s only son Jesus. We receive God’s grace. And receive it by doing nothing.
Being open to receive is a good segue way to our Women’s Annual Retreat Theme: “Embracing the Gift of Forgiveness.” Forgiveness requires giving AND receiving. We must be ready to grant forgiveness to others, as Jesus commands us. But we also must be open to receiving forgiveness ourselves.
Forgiveness can be the greatest challenge, especially when atrocious, unthinkable acts have been committed against us. Yet Jesus commands that we forgive not seven times, but seventy-seven times, which basically means infinity – we must always forgive. And as we forgive, God forgives us. Are we open to receiving it? Can we truly forgive those of have hurt and wronged us? What a blessed relief when we truly do: we can move forward, and there will be nothing to undo.
*All women of all ages are welcome to join us at our annual Women’s Retreat, in which we will broach the topic of Forgiveness, February 24th – 26th. Register online or contact Siobhan Tull at the church.*