The next time you need to forgive me, for instance, I will do my best to make your job easier by pointing out that:
- you're making a lot of fuss over nothing . . .
- because whatever I did was really not all that bad . . .
- and besides, I've been sick -- sick enough that you can't blame me for my actions (which really weren't all that bad, remember?).
And given my near-infinite capacity to justify anything and everything I've ever done, it would be easy to conclude that forgiveness itself is no big deal -- not when it involves offenses so picayune as my own.
You, however, might disagree.
Yes, you might point out that what I've done may be "no big deal" to me -- but that's because I'm not the one who got hurt.
What's more, my attempts to make myself look better have made you look worse -- that in minimizing the evil I've done, I've minimized your goodness in forgiving that evil.
In short, I've offended you three times: once in what I did, twice in denying it was wrong, and thrice in trivializing the cost of your forgiveness.
No, I don't appreciate your mercy -- not really, not until I realize my need for mercy . . .
The same as I don't appreciate the Gospel -- not really, not until I realize how far short I've come of the Law.