Assemblany: Towards Democratic Corporations

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Forgiveness, even for Software Developers

Even for Christians, it's not always easy to forgive others who have hurt you at work.

It's not easy to forgive when deadlines loom, work piles up, the pressure mounts. Then it's easy to look back and blame your managers, and think, "Why didn't they plan to spend more time on testing from the start? Why didn't they put more people on the project from day one?"

It's not easy to forgive co-workers when you have to fix their mistakes, when that takes time away from what you're supposed to be doing; it's not easy to forgive them for code that you can't understand, that's uncommented or too complex or just plain wrong.

It's not easy to forgive customers for changing their mind, or adding more requirements - even if they claim it was due to a misunderstanding in the first place.

It's not easy to forgive managers and others for not even noticing when you're hurting, or wanting more from your job, or just doing your work as well as you can.

It's easy to blame others, to feel bitter, to carry grudges; it's hard to admit responsibility for our own mistakes, to forgive others and start again ... But that is what Jesus calls us to do, not seven times, but seventy times seven: to forgive those who hurt us.

What makes it easier is knowing that we are forgiven. That God forgives us for Jesus' sake, and loves us despite our mistakes, even despite the fact that we keep on making mistakes over and over again, and hurting others (deliberately or not).

God forgives us for our bad decisions, for the mistakes that we made long ago and close at hand, for buggy code that has never been fixed. For bugs and unreadable code that cause us and our co-workers pain, our company money and our managers stress.

God also forgives us for our short-sightedness and ignorance, our clinging to old habits, our refusal to see that we could be wrong, our glossing over and covering up old bugs. For the ways in which we hurt others, in failing to acknowledge their efforts and appreciate them as pople, to help them as we should.

For all the ways that we fail and mess up time and time again, God forgives us. God knows that we are imperfect, flawed, sinning human beings, but he still loves us, and still forgives us. He washes us clean through our baptism and covers us in Jesus' robes. With endless patience, day after day, time and time again.

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