A Different Perspective, Victoria Advocate
Free pass–Not having to go through the normal processes
Years ago, I coined this phrase when my elderly parents attended family dinners and holiday celebrations. I would explain to our grown children, “Gigi and Papa get a free pass.”
What that meant was they got to celebrate however they wanted—they could come thirty minutes early, stay for dinner, and escape when the noise level rose. They didn’t have to corral kids, bring food, or help clean up. In short, a free pass meant we suspended the normal process of things. And though it started as a concession for Mom and Dad, through the years, the meaning expanded. Soon, we applied it to anyone who had to travel. They got a free pass—when they arrived, we were glad to see them and didn’t comment if they were a few minutes, or an hour, late. It also applied to guests—if a family member wanted to bring a guest, they were welcome. Period. The different people who have graced our table over the years have been a blessing.
Then, a free pass eventually evolved into a choice to love, or at least be okay with each other, versus critical, judgmental, or petty—the normal process of things. Love 101 is the key—“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (I Corinthians 13:4-7, New Living Translation)
Sounds lovely in theory, but not a year goes by when we don’t need to be reminded of these holy words. Often.
On another note, when someone gets a free pass, it doesn’t mean we overlook obvious wrongdoing. A free pass isn’t an anything-goes deal. It’s not enabling or sloppy peace-love-dove thinking. Some things need to be addressed. My learning curve included: 1) Private is better for everyone’s sake, 2) When something needs to be pointed out, make it short and sweet, 3) reassure that person you love them 4) Forgive and move on, 5) Above all, don’t bring it up again!
At this point, you may be thinking, Well, you don’t know my family, but no family is perfect. We all have issues. Comparison is another way for the enemy of our souls to drive a wedge. Maybe you got a raw deal as far as family goes, but dwelling on it only leads to a poor-pitiful-me mentality. Focusing on the positive attributes of any family, instead of the inevitable shortcomings, makes life better and improves relationships.
But let’s dig deeper. I’m able to give out free passes all day long because God gave me one. I had sinned and had no way to fix it. The normal process meant I would die a spiritual death, forever separated from God. But God loved me so much, He allowed Jesus to die in my place.
He gave me a free pass.
So now, I’m free to suspend the normal process of things. Resisting negative, non-productive urges and letting them go cultivates good habits. I can choose to love, choose to forgive.
If we’re serious about loving each other, another good scripture to practice this holiday season is “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3, New Living Translation)
As the season kicks off, purpose in your heart to give everyone a free pass. See if you don’t have the best holidays ever.