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April 4, 2013

Morning Coffee: Of Snarky and Forgiveness and Righting a Wrong

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

morning coffee graphicBeing snarky is not a bad thing.

You just have to know when to snark and when not to snark. One can only learn this lesson by making the “when not to snark” mistake. This is a lesson I learned a long time ago; in fact, I don’t remember the occasion on which I learned this life-changing lesson. But I learned it well and I try my best never to be snarky when being pastoral is more appropriate.

This morning, a Chicago Cubs supporter here in New Jersey wrote me a quick Gmail note informing me that my New York Yankees baseball club stunk because they lost the first two games of this very young baseball season. Considering that the Yankees have 160 more games to play, I took the note almost in passing. However, the deep-rooted Yankees fan in me started yelling.

“Hey, you’re going to take that,” I heard my Yankees fan alter-ego scream in my head. “The last time the Cubs won a World Series, Fred Flinstone and the dinosaurs walked the earth. How can you honestly sit there and take it?”

Pushed on to answer, I let some snarkiness (is this a word?) come out. In response, I wrote: “When the Cubs win a World Series in this century, then we can talk.”

Oh. Not very nice. In fact, on the snarky meter, this was pretty low. However, on the “Not Nice” meter, this one ranked a little higher. After pressing “send,” I did feel a little down and the urge to press the “undo send” link Gmail offers went through my mind.

Feeling bad about doing something is a sign of knowing right from wrong. When feeling like we did something wrong, the urge to challenge ourselves to repent and rectify our errors is a good thing.

This is what Luther’s Small Catechism tries to impart to us. When, upon reading or studying or praying the Ten Commandments, we recognize our struggles and failures as sinners. Our hearts are heavy with guilt, but we go to our Father to pour our guilt before Him. And our Father forgives. Our struggle in these sinful lives of ours is working to challenge ourselves not to stumble as badly as our sin encourages us to do.

But we Christians also understand that our failures in this life to others presses us to make amends. Not as an act of penance, but simply because our wrongness towards others needs to be corrected. While we have been forgiven, changing our ways and responding to correct our wrongful act provides a wonderful expression of a faithful life in Christ Jesus.

 

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