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Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Lenten Healing: 40 Graces for Forgiveness (Day 28: Mediocrity)

High school was really easy for me. Too easy. I could do my homework for second period in first period, for third period in second period… you get the idea. Ten minutes of work usually got me a B, whereas I knew it would take more like an hour to score an A. It seemed like an efficient use of time to just take the B. I was deep into college before I discovered the many benefits of working to one’s potential.
Now I have children of my own, and two of them are rather like me, and I want to beat my forehead against the nearest brick wall because, “Why are you content to settle for such substandard performance when you’re so much more capable than this!?!”
The parents’ curse (“I hope you have a kid just like you someday!”) really works. Utter it with caution.
I think my acceptance of academic mediocrity grew from the habit of comparing myself to others. It wasn’t so hard to outscore a lot of the other kids, and the ones I’d really have to work to compete against were pretty hardcore. I didn’t want to be that much of an egghead. I liked leisure too much.
You may be wondering what this has to do with forgiveness.
My bents toward comparison and laziness relate to my lack of fervor in dealing with a number of scriptural mandates, one of which is to forgive others. I wasn’t nearly as bitter or angry or corrupt as many other people, and it seemed like a lot of painful effort to try to get up to where the real saints of the faith are, so I contented myself to linger around in the zone of I’m-not-that-bad-the-way-I-am.
Mediocrity: when you don't care enough to even try to send your very best. What a slap in the face to God, huh?

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I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot… So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
– Revelation 3:15-16

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Whoa. There’s really no point at which you say, “Close enough! Take a seat!” is there? We’re supposed to want to be perfect as Jesus is perfect, not just better than that other guy who’s kind of a jerk. Please forgive my acquiescence to half-heartedness. Remind me today and every day not to compare myself to anyone else, but to compare my today-self to my yesterday-self, and more importantly, always to Jesus. Thank you for forgiving the many times I fail to even notice I’m failing you, because I’m just not that concerned about it.

40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey is now available in print. $6.49 at

With questions for personal meditation and space for journaling, this 40-day devotional series offers a deeper look at Christ's command that we forgive. For a personal pilgrimage, or as a resource for group Bible study,40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey invites seekers of forgiveness and healing to the path on which God longs to meet us all. $6.49 at Find out more about 40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey.

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