When I was in Grade 3, I was forced to take the “inkblot test”.
I even remember why I took it. I had made a passing comment about not being smart enough to be the President (I was about to meet General Eisenhower, as our new school was named after him), and the powers that were wondered if I had a self-esteem crisis or was emotionally scarred in some other horrible way. I took it all very seriously. I needn’t have.
Developed by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach in 1921, the inkblot test consists of ten cards containing random patterns of ink. (Or maybe they aren’t so random. Having read some of the possible interpretations, I wonder what the good doctor was seeing in those patterns.) It is designed to assess a person’s psychological patterns and propensities, but from a purely (sic) secular perspective and utilizing, in my estimation, unreliable and unacceptable benchmarks.
But this is about forgiveness, not psychology. God tells us in Isaiah 43.25 (ESV):
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
My heart can look like a spiritual Rorschach test sometimes, I’m sure–blots of sin all over the page, of various colours and patterns. Sin takes many forms and has harmful effects on one’s relationships, one’s perspective, one’s attitudes, one’s speech. Sin can even affect one’s health. But aside from that, God hates it–in any shape.
But God says He “blots out” our transgressions. When He forgives, the pattern goes immediately from blot to blank, as if nothing had ever been on the card at all. It’s crisp and clean and white, without a trace of the stain that had marred it.
If we are to forgive as God forgives, we need to forget about the inkblot test. Instead of studying and recalling and analyzing people’s sins against us, we need to trash the blots, pull out a clean card, as it were, and begin again.
We need to learn to go from blot to blank.