Bracing for Impact in a Marginless World

Key words to consider while reading this post: boundaries, forgiveness, space, offense, easily offended (doesn’t mean what you think it means), unoffendable, and finally margins.

This morning as I read my devotionals, I felt compelled to share what had spoken to my heart and mind. I saw images of many types of vehicles coming to a sudden stop. When I saw the semi’s I realized that they must be prepared at any moment for those who failed to properly brace for impact. It takes a lot longer to come to a complete stop when weight and speed are the determining factors for true efficacy. A semi has two methods of stopping: brakes and engine braking. In my travels, I have seen the signs that do not allow semi trucks to use engine braking. This means that they must be prepared for the brakes to safely do their job and trust others to leave them space. Then it hit me, figuratively of course, that this fit within with my devotionals, except it concerns people.

Sometimes I will remind anyone who chooses to read my posts that I am a Christian, imperfect human, and use scripture when writing. I will say that one might not understand, especially not agree, if they do not believe in the Lord. However, this subject can benefit anyone whose life lacks margins. I hope in some small way you “hear” what my heart is trying to convey and that it helps you to grasp a morsel of peace.

I had never looked at needing margins in life, but I have definitely recognized the need for boundaries or lack thereof. The use of margins makes much more sense in dealing with forgiveness and conversely being easily offended.

Think about the word: margin. When looking at stats there is always the +/- ‘margin of error’ to consider. When I looked up the Greek and Hebrew words for margin I found a common word: allowance. In the Hebrew translation I found an interesting word: boundary and in Greek: border. It would seem that the words would be interchangeable but from previous studies I know that these languages will use one word for many contextual meanings. The English language can misuse a word, it would seem, when trying to translate original Biblical text. This is why I dig.

For the Greek use of margin it can mean: shore, bank, border, and ALLOWANCE. For the Hebrew use of margin there were more words listed: boundary, tension, voltage, strain, suspense, bias, space, language, edge, gap, seam, tassel, limit, rim….you get the picture. Funny how when crossing a boundary many of those things are the experience – voltage, strain, bias…etc.

When bracing for impact, you have knowledge of the ‘limit’ to the ‘edge’. One might even experience ‘stain’ if the margin is close. One will always need ‘space’ and ‘gaps’ in order to stop before the ‘boundary’ is breached. Taking all of this into consideration regarding relationships, I wanted to see what that looked like.

Colossians 3:13 says, ” “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 (NLT)- New Living Translation. In the other translations, which do not vary much, you might see the word, bearing instead of allowance. That is when it hit me!!! When I say ‘hit me’, it was like a MAC truck who did not have enough space, margin, distance, or gap to effectually stop using only the brakes.

So many of us, most of us, are so easily offended that it would not matter what the context was of any situation, if you are offended you own it and proudly raise the flag of offense! In the verse for today we can easily see that Christ says that the penalty has been declined! (I suppose football would have worked instead of brakes! ha!) Christ then also tells us to forgive AS HE FORGAVE! It’s the little tiny word “AS” that always strikes me. As, as in the same way. When you look at His words in red then compare it to Col. 3:13, you might also see what I did.

How do I forgive AS Christ did? BEFORE THE OFFENSE EVEN OCCURS! Read that again, BEFORE IT HAPPENS! He died before we were born; it only makes sense. He made space for us in our humanness, allowed the margin for error, reviewed the scene, and forgave us anyway. He bore our sins and it was painful. Sometimes it is very painful to “bear with one another” and it is difficult to forgive. Then as some of us do, we banter about forgive and forget. Notice that Christ did not address that for us, only for Himself did He mention the forgetting. So we need to let that go. Our memories are there but it is in how easily we are offended that a small offense becomes something larger. I will venture to say that those who are easily offended deal with pride issues often. I have been there, so I am not pointing fingers. When easily offended, we allow our emotions to rule over us. Then anytime the offender deals with you, you brace for impact for the next offense and give ZERO space for their human margin of error.

I could go on and on regarding these words, those verses, and how it impacted me this morning, but I will close this with advice I read. Perhaps most of us need to do some or all of the following in order for peace to reign in our lives whether we are believers or not. I took the following advice from my devotionals linked below this post.

Allow the margin. Leave a gap. Create space.

Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

Forgive them. 

Forgive dad. 

Forgive mom. 

Forgive the teacher. 

Forgive the ex boyfriend. 

Forgive the ex girlfriend. 

Forgive the ex spouse. 

Forgive the current one. 

Forgive your sibling. 

Forgive your old boss. 

Forgive your old friend. 

Forgive the coach.

Forgive your last pastor. 

Forgive the person who used a racial slur. 

Forgive the police. 

Forgive the government. 

Forgive a President. 

I see plenty in the list above that needs my attention. Christ, first and foremost, got my attention this morning. I am going to work on creating space to allow for those margins. I am going to make sure I have enough space that when bracing for impact. My prayer is that you were not offended when reading this. Thank you for allowing me the space to share my heart.

In Him, Rachele Beckwith