Sleeping with the Enemy: The Christian Edition {Holy (Cow) Week Day 4}

What he wanted to do . . . but didnt

For Jason and I, our first fight as a married couple was over the covers.   Just hours after we arrived home from our honeymoon, we crawled into our new bed made up with fresh linens.  I pulled the crisp comforter my direction, he tugged it a little harder his way.  I yanked the sheets over my back.   He yanked  a little harder across his chest.  He made some snide comment about me “giving him a little.”  I repaid the sarcasm by claiming “I did give him A LITTLE.”   Letting out a giant sigh, he shoved all the blankets to my side and left the room.

Moments later he came hopping back in, completely engulfed in a  zero degree mummy-style sleeping bag.  At the edge of the bed, he half sat and then threw his body onto the mattress. I took one whiff of him and (lovingly) snarled, “when was the last time you used that thing . . . fifth-grade Scout Camp?”   Another deep sigh and he tried to get back out of the bed, only to crash helplessly to the floor. I’m not really sure what happened next. I fell asleep.  All I do know is that I awoke the next morning to find him curled up next to me with a small corner of the sheets wrapped neatly across his shoulder.

We never spoke of the incident.  To this day, I have no idea what happened to that stinky sleeping bag, I never saw it again. Since then, though, our house has been flooded with blankets.  Every Christmas, Valentines, St. Patrick’s Day, World Nutella Celebration, Jason has bought me a new blanket or wool sheets.  I proudly own the hottest electric blanket known to man (according to him, of course.)

It baffles me.  I was so unkind that night, but he just let it go and made it better.  Jason has this amazing ability to truly forgive and forget.  To accept an apology never given, as though it were.  To seek no retribution nor restitution, but to give more of what was already taken from him.  To make no mention of a former stink, but to move forward as though he never smelt it at all.

This week we celebrate the great act of forgiveness demonstrated by Christ on the cross.  But before the cross, was an equally great act of forgiveness.  We cling to the cross because it is about us; our forgiveness, our being made clean, our being set free.  This other act — it is about our forgiveness of others.

Just hours before his betrayal, Jesus washed the feet of Judas.  He dined with Judas, allowing him to lean in to His chest and speak intimately with HIm.  Jesus knew that Judas was moments away from going to the Roman authorities, but He continued to love Him and treat Him as one of  His dearest friends.  He demonstrated what it meant to forgive seventy times seven — to forgive to eternity.

Jesus set the standard: there is no limit to forgiveness.   He showed that    forgiveness reaches where there is no  apology (Judas preferred to hang from a tree over repenting), it extends all that it has and more (Jesus accepted the betrayal and then gave His own life,) it’s only boundary is to make no mention of the wrong (Jesus did not come back from the grave seeking to get even with Judas).

Jesus faced betrayal  just hours before He faced a gruesome death.  A death that we believe paid for and covered sins . . . all of them . . .even Judas’.   Jesus could take no grudge with Him to the cross, or His death would have been in vain.

As Easter nears, as we proclaim the cross and our forgiveness — we need to forgive others.  To allow our forgiveness to run as deep and wide as the grace of God.  We can take no grudge to the cross with us, or His death would be in vain.