Jimmy looked over at me and said," Hey, I was so scared I didn't have sense to get out of my own way!" I started to laugh and Jimmy was surprised… He said, "What's so funny? Haven't you ever heard of that before?" And of course, dumb me; I said, "Well, no I haven't." Then I told some other friends what Jimmy had said and I kept getting that same funny look like yeah? So what? So whose truck did you fall off of? Like you haven't ever heard that phrase, "to get out of your own way" before? Like, where have you been hanging all these years? I mean, I really was embarrassed. I really thought it was funny, unique, unheard of, rare, creative, and it definitely clarified the point beautifully. I'm 57 years old and I've never heard it before and I laughed! So what, give me a break, you wise guys!
Now I have one for all you Biblical "know it alls". In the Book of Jeremiah there is a passage that says, "And you continue to stumble over the rock you put in your own path." Now that's a pretty good translation of the passage and I don't care which version you study or use in your devotional time. I want you to get back to me over Caringbridge and tell me where this passage is in Jeremiah. There's no trick here. I translated the passage from the Hebrew twenty-five years ago, but I've forgotten where it is, and frankly, I've lost track. So, you guys who know all this stuff; you know who you are.
You're the ones who always knew all the verses in Sunday school and you won all of the praises, got all the meritorious stars, and stickers, and badges, and Brownie points! So do I sound frustrated? Who, me? Yeah, and you know who won everything - all the ribbons and bows, all the compliments and awards? Thallander, that's who! He was one of those "goodie two shoes" who always ticked me off. Now guess what happens? He wrecks my truck and we give him a big party and 5000 people show up at the Lake Avenue Church to celebrate. See what I mean? You know what would have happened if I had wrecked my truck? Well, I can tell you this much. The insurance company wouldn't have had a party for me! Those bozos would have raised my rates!
Now what happens? God makes Thallander my best friend. Now that gives me the whim-whams! Now I have to put up with all that stuff all the time. Mr. Perfect! Oh, brother! I stayed at his house the other night when we had the big shin dig in Pasadena and you know what he did? He made me sleep in his bed while he slept on the sofa in the living room ‘cuz he was worried about my back. For heaven sakes, when does this perfection end? Let's face it, folks, I'm the one who can't get out of his own way. Oh yeah, and that's what this little piece is all about, right? You know what Yahweh was saying to Jeremiah in that passage? Why do you keep putting stones in your own path? Forget this sin and move on! Get out of your own way. Move it baby!!
"I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more." Now, that's in Jeremiah 31:34. That's an easy one. But that's not easy to do. We tend to forgive as Christians. We're literally taught in the Lords Prayer that we will only be forgiven if we forgive. But here God is saying; let's do your self one better. Get out of your own way, kid. If I can forget your sin, so can you!
Oh, I love it. I can't do it any better than you can, but I love the concept. How many times do we doubt ourselves and our abilities? How many times do we run some dumb thing we said, or did, to someone in the past over and over in our minds in humiliation? How much suffering do we think we deserve? We say we forgive but we can't seem to forget, and God is telling us that it's a big part of this concept of getting our stuff out of our own way. We have to forget as well as forgive. We have to forgive the other guy and we are encouraged to forget their sin and we must treat ourselves likewise. It's the only time we get points for forgetting something. Problem is - we can't and we don't.
You know the "purple cow" syndrome? Tell yourself you can't think about a purple cow and it's all your mind's eye can see. This business of forgetting one's sin probably isn't going to happen, so at least we can model our Lord and treat ourselves as if we have forgotten the sin and get out of our own way! And remember this part: Forgiveness is a process, not an event. It takes time to forgive. It takes time to get to the place where we can try to forget our own stuff. But we have to try. We have to engage in the process. It's not as easy as trippin' in the pumpkin patch, but it can be achieved with time, patience, and prayer. Pumpkin patch! Oh brother, take an aspirin and lay down, Gary.