Thursday, December 1, 2011

Forgiveness Policy

I'm in the midst of a war. A couple months back I ordered a Halloween costume for my three-year-old niece. Halloween has always been our special day - for the past several years we attended a holiday party at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens called Boo-tanical Bash. Now living in Chicago, I wasn't able to maintain that tradition, so I bought her costume instead.

Or so I thought. Apparently when my sister opened the box from a highly frequented retailer (it's logo may or may not look like a bullseye), instead of a toddler-sized princess dress inside, she found an adult male Abe Lincoln costume. I have been trying to get refunded for this costume for six weeks now. They are refusing to give me a credit in any other form then a gift certificate to their online store. I don't want a gift certificate to their online store, because it was the error of the online store that put me in this predicament to begin with. Time and time again, this retailer has told me they would mail me a refund, and yet, every email confirming the return is for a certificate for their online store.

Each time I call, I am told they are sorry. They are continually sorry for making the same mistake over and over again. The last time I spoke with them I said, "You keep telling me you're sorry, but you're not doing anything to fix this. Prove to me your sorry by getting it right." Well, wouldn't you know, today I got an email about my refund - an online gift certificate.

While I'm feuding with this company, I can't help but point out the irony that this situation is to my life's calling to be a pastor. As Christians, we are constantly making the same error over and over again. But God never asks us to prove that we're sorry by forcing us to get it right. He just forgives.

A policy like that would never fully work in the real world. People are eventually held accountable for their actions. Society demands that we have show that we are trying to make things right to our fellow neighbor, and very often things are made right before we are willing to forgive. This is what makes God's forgiveness so extraordinary, so out of this world. God's patience is infinite, his love never ending.

I just hope that I can tap into a fraction of that patience when I call the bullseye yet again.

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