As a realtor, I feel that keeping my car clean is a necessity. The 2004 Honda Accord that I drove home from the dealership in that same year is still rolling along…sometimes a little dusty, but not rusty like the salt erosion on some icy Iowa vehicles.
A few days ago, I took my car to the local car wash where an attendant takes your order for basic or VIP service. Every time I take my car there, a man asks if he can buff out my head lights, sell me detailing or a package deal of one sort or another. “Really?” I say. “I just want the basic wash.”
He, like most sales people, doesn’t take “no” for an easy answer. “You know, we have a special today….” Please. I’m waiting for him to write up my order. He is holding the ticket hostage as he tries to up-sell me something else. I try to tune him out.
“Just give me my ticket,” I say and snatch the thing from his hand as soon as he rips it from his pad. Finally I was in control of the white slip, and I turned my back to him to stomp off in a huff. When I got inside the building, I asked for the manager and complained that every time I go there, I am hassle. He assured me that he’d take the man aside and speak to him.
I felt better, until the next day. I began thinking of how I felt wronged, but then I realized that I had mistreated another individual myself. How was I any better than he? How could I love people the way God loves people if I couldn’t be kind to a stranger…one trying to do his job and make a living to boot.
The second day after the car wash, I felt really bad. I’m made of the same dirt that the salesman is made of and I’m not above him. I needed to show the love of God, not the anger of Effie. So, I returned to the car wash, found the man named, “Tom,” and apologized. He said, “I’m not mad at you. I accept your apology.” He understood.
“The reason I came is because I’m a Christian and I shouldn’t have treated you that way,” I said.
“I’m a Christian, too,’ Tom said. “It’s okay. We’re not perfect.” During our brief visit we shook hands three or four times and laughed a lot. I left thinking about how Tom demonstrated the love of God in his ready forgiveness.
That’s my confession. I’d love to hear of your experience in asking for or in giving forgiveness. Forgiveness…loving others like God does. He makes us truly clean beyond the daily dirt. Unlike my car, I am forever clean by Messiah Jesus’ blood that washes whiter than snow.