When my wife and I moved into our townhouse almost 10 years ago we wanted to freshen up the walls. Not that white isn’t a great color, but when it’s everywhere it makes you want to poke your eyes out with an ice pick.
So Cherie found a really awesome painting technique that, when completed, made the walls look like suede leather. It looked easy enough to do. However, the project nearly cost me my right rotator cuff from all of the brush strokes. But when it was done, this faux technique totally made our walls looked like a big old couch.
Now here’s the thing. When we were done, PETA never once came and picketed at our house because of all the animals harmed in the making of our leather walls. No one threw fake buckets of blood at me as I walked to my car so I could think about what we had done.
Not even one newspaper reporter came to our house or come to think of it I didn’t get even one nasty email from anyone.
Do you want to know why?
Our walls were fake. They weren’t really leather because it was only a faux finish made to look like leather.
As Christians we have faux finishes too, but none more evident than forgiveness.
forgiveness – (noun) The act of forgiving; pardon.
faux – (Adj) not genuine or real; being an imitation of the genuine article
Forgiveness seems to be an elusive discipline for Christians even though we know God wants us to!
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Chances are we all believe this is true. We know we need forgiveness yet when the opportunity presents itself we often cringe just like any other person.
However we’ve found a way to dance around actually have to do it.
Fauxgiveness is the equivalent of our leather walls. From a distance it may look like forgiveness but upon further inspection it’s the farthest thing from it. Here are some faux techniques I’ve seen used.
- Fauxgive and Forget – This is a common technique used by Christians and Non-Christians alike. It requires that we stuff anything anyone has done to us under the rug in our soul and pretend it’s not there. Out of sight so out of soul.
- Fauxgive and Tell – This is great for Christians because it lets you tell everyone that out of the goodness of your heart you’ve forgiven them and there are no hard feelings. Usually people will nod in agreement and perhaps even say “amen” if they are truly holy.
- Fauxgive and Laugh – This is great technique at parties. This is where you take what was done to you and make it a joke. This makes it look like you are totally over it. After all, if you can laugh about it you must be over it….right?
These are just three examples of Fauxgiveness, but I’ll bet all of us have used these techniques at one time or another.
Now on the outside this looks FANTASTIC because it appears we have embraced forgiveness with ease, but tragically what’s happening on the inside tells a different story.
The closer you look at the “leather” wall you realize that forgiveness hasn’t really happened at all. We are still as hurt, crushed, confused, and bitter as we were when it first happened.
Fauxgiveness may fool a few people on the outside but our souls are never fooled. It still longs for freedom that only true forgiveness can offer.
Forgiveness that realizes holding onto the past only weighs you down, not the other person. Forgiveness that sees faking it as only prolonging the agony in your life. Forgiveness that looks into the eyes of Jesus and can’t help but reflect that love to others. Forgiveness that places all the hurt and pain at the foot of the cross and leaves it for Jesus to handle.
Forgiveness that is tired of being tired and is ready to run free in the freedom found only in Christ.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28
Only Jesus can offer this type of weight loss for our souls and get us past Fauxgiveness.