By Chana Nestlebaum
When you think of that scale that weighs your mitzvos against your aveiros, you can get a little depressed. Can you ever be perfect enough to keep the balance in your favor? You hold in your temper one minute and lose it the next; you cheer someone up one day and then say something insensitive the next.Instead of your fate resting on a scale, it seems to rest on a see-saw.
But there’s one sure way to shift the balance for good.
Zevy borrowed his older brother Gavriel’s car. He had a cup of coffee sitting in the cup-holder by his side. He tried to pick up the cup as he drove along, but it was stuck. He looked down for a second to see what was wrong, just as the car in front of him came to an unexpected stop. He crashed.
No one was hurt, but the car needed at least a week in the body shop. And, of course, the insurance claim would raise the rates. Gavriel shook his head. “Zevy, really. Now what am I supposed to do?”
Zevy felt bad. He offered to rent his brother a car while he waited for his own to be repaired, but Gavriel knew Zevy had no money to do that. “All right, it’s OK. Every new driver has their first fender-bender. You’ll be more careful from now on I’m sure.”
When Gavriel’s neighbor heard about the accident, he had plenty to say. “These kids drive like maniacs!” he sympathized. “And now you’re stuck without a car. I hope you’ll know better than to lend it to Zevy again.”
“No, don’t say that. Zevy’s a good kid. But you know how it is. A guy gets his license and he feels like he owns the road. He feels terrible now.”
A little while later, Gavriel’s father called him. “Listen, you know the money I loaned you last month? Forget about it. Take it as a gift.”
“But why? I’m planning to pay you back, Dad,” Gavriel protested. “I took it as a loan and I want it to be a loan.”
“No, really, forget it. You know, you made Zevy feel a lot better about what happened, so let me make you feel a little better, too.”Our Father loves when we give each other the benefit of the doubt, refusing to carry a grudge or demand our “just deserts.”
When we do that for each other, He does it for us. If we can’t be perfect, we can at least be compassionate and forgiving. Then the see-saw becomes a scale solidly tipped toward the good