Monthly Letter

The Vicarage

Dear Friends

Getting a puppy recently has meant coming across many canine ‘crime scenes’ but not being able to obtain justice, since the dog wouldn’t understand being told off after the fact. Like the other day, my potato plants had been dug up and snapped off. It’s really frustrating not to be able to get satisfaction by feeling like I’ve told the dog off, or made my point and know that it won’t happen again. It feels like the perpetrator gets off free and I suffer loss and clear up the mess. Very frustrating.

This whole scenario makes me realise again how much I’m not the perfect dog owner, nor am I the perfect human being. The frustration I feel at being cheated out of justice because of the lack of understanding of my bouncy puppy leaks out in other ways. I’m fairly sure I’m not alone in admitting that anger and frustration can ‘leak’. Whether it’s the antics of a puppy, or the driving of someone who cuts us up on a roundabout, or the offensive comment on social media, we don’t get what we deem to be satisfaction and we carry frustration and it leaks out onto those around us, or else it can bubble up once in a while into an irrational flash of anger at something silly and small. Very often we don’t even know why.

This must be how it is for God to forgive us when we do whatever the human equivalent is of stealing someone else’s cheese from the kitchen table, or when we unknowingly snap someone’s potato plants whilst digging for riches in the soil beneath. There’s the frustration that God must feel that we cannot possibly fully understand the implications of our actions on everyone around us and how even our secret indiscretions, like a puddle in the corner of the carpet, do in fact have consequences for others and for God. There’s the futility of God expecting us to be able to understand what it really costs for God to forgive us.

And then there’s my issue of frustration and anger leaking out or building up. Imagine what would happen if God were to act as I do! Often, with others, we require restitution or at least an apology, and so we flash our lights and beep our horns on the roundabout, or rant on the internet or quit our Twitter account having had one last passive-aggressive parting shot. For God it’s different. God models what real forgiveness looks like, where no bitterness is retained and no anger wells up. Restitution and satisfaction have already been made by God himself, through Jesus. It is because Jesus gave himself for our wrongdoings that we are sure that God forgives. All we need to do is to come to him, confess and listen as God tells us that he still loves us.








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