Car commercials crack me up.
There are the luxury cars that try to evoke images of ecstasy by a voluptuous female draped over the hood or a tuxedo’d movie star falling backwards (slo-mo) into a swimming pool. You want to be cool? Drive this car.
Then there are the manly truck commercials with the deep, disembodied voice talking about ratios and torque (whatever those are). You want to be studly? Drive this truck.
The ones that appeal to family make much more sense to me. The safety factor of “your-child-is-more-likely-to-survive-a-crash-in-this-car” is a brilliant advertising strategy in my book. You want to be safe? Pick this one.
I’m more of an SUV gal myself. Being 5-foot-12 makes a sport car a bit challenging, and I like the thought of having more steel around me anyway. All-wheel drive, stowing capacity and towing strength, it’s all on my check list.
Regardless of your choice, there is something exhilarating about driving off the lot for the first time. However, you’re not going anywhere until they give you—The Key.
When we bought our most recent used car (a relative term), the dealer only had one key, which means I went fairly quickly to have another one made. They only problem was, although it would open the door so I could get in, it wouldn’t turn the ignition. Nope. There was no getting around it—back to a dealership to make that special “chip” key to start the car. A safety feature, I suppose.
Which makes me think about the Christian life, like we’re pushing and pulling but not getting anywhere, not even moving the vehicle forward but a few inches for all the effort. Why is this?
“…and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us…”
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Forgiveness is like the key in the ignition of a shiny, new SUV. It’s already to go, looks good, feels good, (smells good), and is just waiting to get to work, to serve the Lord who gave all for me.
First, there is a key that unlocks the door, which is repentance. In other words, saying I’m sorry is one thing, but doing I’m sorry proves it to be so. Thus, I am given the key that lets me in the car, Jesus’ forgiveness, but the key to start up the engine takes an additional feature—my forgiveness of others.
Or here’s another way to think of it: God has already forgiven my past, present, and future. It’s paid for, even before I was born, in the person and plan of Jesus. Here is this beautiful vehicle that takes me straight to the heart of God Himself, and all that that encompasses!
Without repentance—admission of my error in thinking, doing, being—that car remains locked. Once inside, but without my forgiveness of others (as well as myself), the engine barely sputters if that. Not because the Father is withholding goodness and grace, but maybe because this truck is so powerful that my misuse of it, (a life without forgiveness), can actually cause massive damage.
Proper use, however, can bring major breakthrough:
Because forgiveness, like a good truck, is a tool, not a toy.
Matthew 6:12,14-15 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.