There are so many analogies and metaphors between life and boats, from stepping out on the water, to a small rudder steers a large ship and so forth. Sometimes it feels like life just comes crashing down, like a ship that has beached. Other times the boat just bobs around aimlessly when we have lost the oars to steer and row. And this is really the essence of blog today – what to do when you find yourself beached.

In life, the most common thing that can see us beached is through making bad choices. Firstly, a bad choice is just that – a bad choice. Not many of these are irreversible, so the prospect of recovery and finding yourself afloat again is pretty good. However, it is necessary for us to acknowledge bad choices, and then make better choices to rectify the consequences. At times, we will have to endure the consequences of previous wrong decisions even while we have rectified the matter. In these situations we are desperate for the grace, mercy and forgiveness from those affected by our choices. Sometimes we get it, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes it is our boat that is beached, and other times the boat belongs to a friend. Whichever situation, forgiveness is needed.

I am reminded of the words of my friend, Jesus, who repeatedly says, “Forgive to be forgiven.” In essence it is the same as ‘do to others as you want them to do to you’. The same as ‘your measure in judging others is the measure of your judgement’. To ref lost a beached boat will require a spiritual decision first, before the effects will become visible in our everyday life. And the first spiritual decision, as I’ve said, is the acknowledgement of the bad choice, the mistake, or the sin. A real acknowledgement carries and inherent commitment to repent, which is essentially asking forgiveness.

Forgiveness has to come from God first, and then it has to come from others (affected by us) as well. Lastly, and probably the most difficult, is to forgive ourselves.  But this is the process required for re-floating… As I’ve said, sometimes we are the ones asking for forgiveness, while at times we are the ones required to do the forgiving. But I believe God has a keen interest in both situations, since both affect our heart in similar fashion. (By heart I mean ‘the essence of who we are’).

Are you rowing? Or are you beached? Can you refloat your own boat? Are you instrumental in helping someone else get their boat back in the water?

blue boat ©2016 waldo malan

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