Is That Real Forgiveness?

Frank McKinley likes to spend his time reading, writing, drinking coffee, and taking photographs. He and his family have been members of Christ Community over ten years and in three locations. If you’d like to read more, his blog is If you've watched commercial TV for more than an hour lately, you've probably seen an auto insurance ad.

The latest marketing gimmick is "accident forgiveness". It sounds really nice, but honestly how much do you really know about it?

I had an accident not long after I started driving. Like a fool, I didn't pay attention to my surroundings and plowed into a parked car. I don't remember the details. What I do remember was the embarrassment and fear that filled my brain so full that all reason was pushed out.

I wasn't concerned with whether the insurance company would forgive me. I was just hoping my dad would.

The premise behind accident forgiveness is that regardless of fault, you're first accident will not increase your insurance premiums. So, don't worry. Drive as if you don't have a care. The friendly insurance company has got your back.

But then there's always the truth behind the pitch.

According to an article in Forbes, insurance companies are in business to make a profit. But then, so is any other successful business. Since auto insurers know that people generally hate them, they've decided to present a warmer personality through hip commercials with funny, quirky, and compassionate characters who become our friends and even get their own websites. Remember the tour you could take of the Geico Cave Man's apartment? Now there's a site where you can learn to dress like Flo, the Progressive pitch girl.

While the insurer promises not to raise your premium, that is all they deliver. You can still be assessed an "accident surcharge". If they decide your accident is big enough, they can still drop you. You'll find the accident still counts against your good driver record and into other charges in your policy.

What if people forgave that way?

We all want forgiveness when we screw up. The reality of being human in a sinful world is that we are sinful too. We will say and do things that offend those closest to us. We will break things that we are responsible for. There will be times when we will forget promises we spoken and appointments we've made. If there were no second chances, we'd all be suicidal.

Just as we all want to be forgiven when we blow it, others do too. If you want to keep your friends, forgive them when they fail you. If you want to minimize your tendency to worry, remember that no one else is perfect, and you aren't either.

The beauty of the Gospel is that God is the ultimate Forgiver. He gives endless second chances to the ones He loves. Jesus' death and resurrection really does free you from all the guilt your sin brings, from the daily blunder to that general sense of your own unworthiness.

Now that's accident forgiveness that's good for a lifetime.

You take it to heart.

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