Five Hopes I Wish for You and Me

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I learned about mercy and hope this morning while watching my daughter prep for oral surgery.

I had not known, until the technician informed me, that the Pope had declared this next year, since December 8, a special jubilee of mercy. I’m not Catholic; I didn’t know what a special jubilee was, no did I know the pope could call one. But he has, and he has opened up the special bricked up door in St. Peter’s to symbolize it.

I saw that door when we visited St. Peter’s Basilica. I remember it. I didn’t realize it’s significance.

All I could say to her was, “I dearly hope he’s right.”

The Friday Five linkup at Mrs. Disciple is on Hope. Five things we hope. This morning, I can’t think of anything I hope for more than exactly this.

I hope and pray mercy on you. On me. On all of us.

I pray more than anything we learn to extend it beyond what we believe is possible in 2016.

“I am convinced that the whole Church — which has much need to receive mercy, because we are sinners — will find in this jubilee the joy to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time.”

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Is there anything more important, in this world of fear and confusion, than to hope for these words? So here are my five hopes for all of us in the Year of Jubilee (An unfulfilled celebration in the Old Testament that I find particularly beautiful and hopeful.) They are all hopes of mercy.

I hope for us the wisdom to listen and learn from those who are different.

Let’s learn the particular mercy of hearing others. We can give no greater gift, I’m convinced, than to see and hear another person. Would it be a beautiful mercy to go out of our way to hear those we may not normally listen to this year? Wouldn’t it mirror Jesus’ willingness to hear the people around him, really hear them, not assume he knew all about them? (Even though he did.)

I hope for us the patience to give second chances.

It’s the popular thing to give up on people as soon as they disappoint us. It’s easy to delete a friend. Easy to move on to the next honeymoon relationship, until the next crack appears. But what if we chose not to? Does it sound hopeful to think we could do the hard work of inviting the cracks, repairing them together, offering second, third, and fourth chances? We might need a few, too.

I hope for us the freedom of feeling forgiven.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
    nor remain angry forever.
 He does not punish us for all our sins;
    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
 He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west.  Psalm 103

Completely, absolutely, unwaveringly forgiven. By God. And by ourselves. Nothing offers more hope than to know you are forgiven. Nothing prepares us more for the next hope.

IMG_4468I hope for us the release of forgiving others.

Who needs your forgiveness? Offer it in this year of mercy. Be liberal in your offering of forgiveness. You are the one who will feel the free release of hope fill your lungs.

I hope for us the joy of offering mercy to anyone, anywhere.

The one who does not deserve it. The one who cannot hope for it. The one who doesn’t look like you. The one who looks disturbingly too much like you. The one who speaks another language. The one who lives and sleeps next to you. Everywhere. Without consideration of who is keeping score.

This — this is peace on earth. This is the only hope we have. This is the hope of Christmas.

Five things to always apologize for

Love means often having to say you’re sorry.
Just not for this.
Last week I declared a moratorium on ten things I’ll never apologize for again. (See that post here.)


It’s freeing to realize we do not have to apologize for a lot of the things we’e spent too much of our lives apologizing for. But hold the reins. Or whatever analogy suits you. I, personally, don’t really do horses. I think it has something to do with the one that tried to knock me off her back with a tree branch when I was eight. Still have equine trust issues.

So—insert your metaphor here that means—wait a minute.

There is such a thing as too free. For instance, feel free to run around your house alone in whatever state of dress you prefer. But gong to Target like that is another matter completely. (Walmart–now there you might be able to get away with it.)

Contrary to inexplicably popular 70’s movies, love does NOT mean never having to say you’re sorry. In fact, love means saying it often. Over and over. Because loving people up close means we’ll have conflict and miscommunication, confusion and badly applied good intentions, and mornings without enough caffeine before opening our mouths. And we’ll have to apologize.

So a new list this week.

Five things I hope I will always apologize for.

Because there is always time to chaperone a class
trip to Orlando. Always. And there is never one
more baby of the family to do it with.

Telling people I’m too busy. With what? For what? What on earth am I doing that’s more important than that person who wants my attention or presence? The Bible says to store up our treasures in heaven (Matthew6.19-21). You know what is in heaven? People. Not our job, our computer, or our zumba class. PEOPLE. They are our treasure. I need to act like it.


It’s too easy to put my agenda first without even hearing what someone is asking. Hearing sometimes requires pulling away from me and listening at a level beyond words. Life will be too busy until you die, but only if you let it be .

I can’t I can’t possibly. I just…can’t.
Oh wait. I can.

Saying I can’t. Yes, I did say just last week I would no longer apologize for not explaining why I can’t do something. But this is different. What I’m talking about is saying “I can’t” when what I really mean is, “I don’t want to take the time.“ “It’s a bother.” “I’m too afraid.” I may not choose to explain why I can’t do something, but I always want to think about why I don’t believe I can.


Because sometimes, I can. And I’m sacrificing something or someone to cover up for my fear or apathy. It isn’t so much, “I’m sorry but I can’t.” It’s “I’d rather think about my own selfish self right now, thank you very much.” Ugh. I’m tired of my own selfish self. That person isn’t very good company. I want to say yes more than I say no  .

That talking without thinking thing. Did I mention I can be a trifle . . . sarcastic? In fact, most of us do think before we use words that are hurtful. Then we go ahead and do it anyway.

Because of the latest Supreme Court decision, I’ve already read several diatribes this week using hateful, cruel language to describe people who don’t agree with the writer. They have to know some of the people they call “friends” belong in the group they’re describing–and hurting. But personal opinion and need to be right trump those feelings.

I need to say “sorry” for the times I disregard those feelings in my need to say something witty, or right, or judgmental. It’s not OK just because I believe it.

It’s easy to say, “They were only words, and they’re probably forgotten.” But probably not, because words burn themselves into our souls, and words like “I’m sorry” can tweeze hurt out and heal the scar . Why is it so easy to launch verbal Laser Weapon Systems and so very difficult to say “I’m sorry”?

Because sometimes, life is messy.

Being a bad example. Too many years of my life got spent trying to be the shining example of perfect mom, wife, and Christian. Time I could have saved by admitting earlier I couldn’t even manage a glimmer some days much less a shine. 


You know when my ministry with other people really begin to matter? When I started saying things like, “I seriously screwed up! You too? OK, why don’t we put our messes together and see what God can do to redeem it all?”

Could I please go back and apologize to all the people who saw the “I know what I’m doing all the time and, also, I know what you should be doing and how you should be doing it” woman and tell them I’m really, really sorry? And could someone smack me the next time I slip into that?

Playing the Please-Blame-Anyone-But-Me game. You know what? It’s so much more work to figure out twenty ways someone else is at fault. It takes real effort to manipulate why I’m not really responsible for the thing I clearly am. I wish I had figured this out a long time ago.

It takes three seconds to say, “Yep, I should have known better, I’m sorry” and about three days to keep defending myself with many, many creative maneuvers. It’s only scary to think about saying, “Sorry—my fault.” It’s not so bad to do it. And be done. People respect you more, too. Trust me. People know when you’re making up excuses. They really do.

Your turn again. What have you learned that we really do need to say “sorry” for? And keep saying it? And not be afraid to?