TEMERITY of life is always taxing. The audacity of God to plunge us into situations that would have us scramble for a response that might work. And so patient is our Lord that he bears us every minute until we suddenly and finally realise “this is not working.” Oh, there will be many of those revelations! And they gut us and tire us…
A friend reminded me of the story where Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection (John 21). They were frustrated in having fished all night without getting a single fish. Ahead of them, there Jesus stood, on the beach, as they returned. He asked them what they had caught, knowing they had caught nothing. He was calm; they were spent, physically and emotionally. Jesus simply said, literally, “Cast your net to the right side of the boat and you will find fish.” Interesting that he said “right (Greek: dexia) side” and “you will find” fish. It illustrates two important points.
In particular relation to forgiveness, when we cast our nets, looking for a catch of healing, we often cast them to the wrong side for a while. And we catch nothing but more anger and resentment. Our nets are our capacity to resolve the crisis that has swarmed into and commandeered our lives. Our casting is our effort. Our nets are designed to help us get through. Our casting merely needs to be directed in the right direction; in the right place — there we will find what we have been looking for for a long time now.
But to cast our nets out in faith seems an oblivious event. We have cast all night, and only into despair. It’s not working and our faith has failed us. In exasperation, only then are we prepared to try something new.
And still the Lord whispers, “Cast on the other side… then, you will find.”
The side we are least likely to try and cast our net to is the side where we have to throw our whole being into forgiveness. It is always horrid to forgive — that’s how it feels as we start out. To throw our whole being into charging ahead with our head when our heart lags behind seems mad. But it is a faith personified, where faith that isn’t personified is no faith at all. Faith requires us, in body, in mind, in soul; our entire being.
Jesus commends us to get into forgiveness, boots and all. Jesus commends us to a radical forgiveness; actions of which nobody could beforehand predict might happen. Jesus commends us to lock the door of resentment and throw away the key so we may never ever go in there again.
Cast your net to the right side, and there you will find your catch!
© 2015 Steve Wickham.