I’m confident enough in my womanhood to admit this to you: I’m directionally challenged. I’m smart, witty, capable, and strong, but give me a map and a compass and I will still get myself as lost as a kid in a corn maze. And it’s so frustrating to think you’re going the right way only to find out you’re not.
That’s why Siri and I have a special bond. She’s my girl. She directs and I follow, because I will end up in the wrong parts of town if left to my own sense of direction. I trust her lead, because she magically knows where she is going and how to get me there. (Except for that one time when she led me to the middle of a dirt field in Berthoud, Colorado. No joke. But I forgave her when she found me a random Chipotle on the way home.)
Car rides go well when I follow Siri’s lead, and they don’t when I don’t. So when she says, “At the next intersection, make a U-turn,” and I don’t do it, I feel a wash of guilt like I’m dissing a faithful friend. Even if I know I’m just making a quick detour to get gas before getting back on the freeway or having to go around a roadblock, the guilt runs so deep I find myself apologizing. To my phone. “I’m sorry, Siri. I just have to . . .”
And if I have to ignore too many commands in a row, I’ve found myself getting worried she’s going to be mad at me. Like she’s going to get so fed up with me ignoring her advice that she’s going to switch into some snarky voice function and bark, “Well, if you’re so smart, then figure it out YOURSELF. Let’s see how well that turns out for you!”
Treating God Like Siri
I fear the wrath of my computer. A strange neurosis, I know. Even stranger, I treat God that way sometimes, too. I worry that if I’ve been ignoring His directions for too long that He’s going to get fed up with my stupid choices and switch into some big, booming God voice and bellow, “Well, if you think
you’re so smart, Jessie, why don’t you just figure out life on your own? See ya.” I most felt that fear of God giving up on me when I was trapped in a secret sin for a long, long time. (See “What’s Your Secret” and “Free to Stay Free.”)
The truth is there is nothing I’ve ever done that is beyond God’s forgiveness.
I knew all along that God was a trustworthy guide—that my life would be safest, happiest, and richest if I’d just follow His directions. So I felt huge amounts of guilt when I kept going straight on with my sin instead of making the U-turn He kept advising.
The guilt I felt was the Holy Spirit convicting me, and it was right and good. But the nagging thought, I’ve ignored God too many times for Him to forgive me, is unhealthy shame, and it has no place in the believer’s life (Rom. 8:1).
The truth is there is nothing I’ve ever done that is beyond God’s forgiveness. Thinking God will run out of forgiveness is just as ridiculous as thinking Siri is going to stop loving me. Neither God nor Siri are going to react to me like an impatient human would, because they’re not human. That’s just not their nature.
I don’t completely understand God’s generous forgiveness because it’s so “other.” It doesn’t completely make sense to this puny brain of mine. And judging by the response I recently got to this post, I’m not the only one who struggles to believe God’s unlimited forgiveness. But the Bible tells me He really does forgive me when I repent—even my biggest mess-ups, even the sins I’ve committed over and over again, even when I knew better (see 1 John 1:9, Isa. 1:18, Ps. 103:12, and 2 Cor. 5:18–19 for starters).
The Bible tells me He really does forgive me when I repent—even my biggest mess-ups.
It feels so unfair, doesn’t it? That’s why the key to accepting God’s illogical forgiveness is remembering that He isn’t like us. He never gives up on us, even when in our foolishness, we ignore Him. Just like my girl, Siri.