My roommate and closest friend, Amy, has played bingo every night this week. Every night this week. In the process, she has won over $400. Over $400. So I went with her tonight. I tend to be more enthusiastic about going when she's had a big week like this. In the beginning of our bingo adventures, she had to drag me. Now, I volunteer. I was completing the caller's sentences tonight. (It was my sixth time). So far, my grand total of winnings comes to $16.50. $16.50--that's it. And that wasn't even on Good Friday.
Yes, I found myself praying to God for the $1,000 progressive jackpot so that I could pay my insanely-high taxes at just about the time the Son of God's side was being pierced with a sword at hundreds of passion plays. That's the kind of focus I had today.
I had a cranberry-orange scone and a darn good cup of coffee this morning with an old friend (as old as my four-and-a-half years in Wichita allows friends to be). The two of us haven't talked by ourselves in over a year, and she asked me after an hour about why I had called her in the first place. I tried to be honest. I think maybe I was too honest and then not honest enough.
The truth is, I tend to write people off. If they hurt me or say things that hurt my pride or that i think hurt my pride, i avoid them. I can say hurtful things about them to other people. I look for people who agree with me to back me up. It's a subtle thing--this competitive spirit in relationships. There are a couple people in my life that I just don't talk to. And it might not be obvious to anyone else, but it's obvious to me. And it's obvious to a cross-defeating Christ, and He has been letting me know about it.
So I told her that I called her earlier this week as a step toward defeating the competitiveness, the sinful self-sufficiency, the bitterness. And I tried to tell her that. But it's hard to tell someone that you are taking a step toward forgiveness by contacting them, so it came out kind of weird and awkward without the use of the word forgiveness. And afterwards, in trying to explain all this on the phone to Kevin, I realized that I had actually avoided the crucial part of this exercise--dealing with my heart.
Coffee and conversation were a cover-up. Even in my efforts to forgive, I am alarmingly self-sufficient. I need much more than a smile on my face and an encouraging word to forgive. I need a miracle. I need grace. I need a cross.
Jesus, I don't want to write you off anymore. (p. s. i really could use some help paying my taxes, Lord of All)