Only God

September 1, 2023

By: Rita Early

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

Not sure what the statistics are on this, but I have a feeling that most people, including myself, have a harder time forgiving themselves than forgiving others.

This summer I went on a wonderful vacation with my family to California. On our return flight I noticed I couldn’t find my AirPods. I distinctly recall my husband handing them to me at the hotel, but what had I done with them? I spent the whole flight fidgeting, checking and double checking not only my carryon luggage but my kids’ backpacks as well. I even promised multiple times to forgive my girls if they confessed to accidentally taking them. But no.

At home I kept playing the same broken record as I unpacked our luggage. What did I do with them? Did I leave them at the hotel? Where had I left them? Fear crept in as I came to the last compartment. Empty.

My daughter suggested I use the “Find” feature on my phone to track the pods. Sure enough, they were in California. I wondered if I could deactivate the earphones so no one else could use them. Instead, I chose to cast out resentment by praying peace and blessings for whomever found them and I deleted the connection to my device.

Resentment went away, but shame walked in. How could I have been so careless? Those things are expensive. That was so foolish. I mentally beat myself up. 

I went to my husband and confessed.

“So?” he shrugged. “We will get you a new pair.”

I cringed. “I don’t want a new pair. I want those.”  

“In light of eternity,” he said, “how bad is this?”

I took a deep breath and thought about it. I had just spent two weeks with family and friends. We went to a lake, the beach, the zoo, and topped it off with a grand party. I was blessed beyond measure and losing my AirPods was nothing more than a mere annoyance turned into frustration and anger.  

God, how had I managed to lose my peace and joy so easily? Had I made an electronic device an idol? The word Pharisee came to mind. Pharisee? How was I being a Pharisee? I sensed God telling me, “Pride.” ouch!

I translated that to mean that I was feeling so much shame because I had raised myself up to an infallible status. And only God is infallible. As long as I refused to accept the responsibility and forgive myself, I would continue to feel shame.

Had my husband lost the device, I would have forgiven him right away. I wouldn’t have doubted or criticized his character. Why? Because I love him. 

1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” This includes how I am to love and treat myself because this is how God loves me… and you. 

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