Lessons from Wednesday – Learning to Forgive

This past Wednesday, something happened that left me in a storm of emotions -anger, hurt, regret, loss. A friend — someone in whom I confided and with whom I was very open about a subject on which we disagreed but whom I counseled about how to lead in a touchy situation at his request —  turned out to be a Judas. I learned in a very public way that my trust was misplaced and that this person not only was not my friend but lacked integrity and honor. I was – and am – devastated.

I hesitate to write such harsh words. And you would be right. But I share such a harsh tale to talk about the spiritual and personal issues is raises for me.

Today – on Friday – I am struggling a bit with forgiveness. It will be a long journey. This person will likely not be my friend ever again. I certainly won’t trust him. Nor, I think, does God or inner peace require that I do so.  But I have to come to a place of forgiveness. Today I want to be angry and self-righteous. But I need to move toward forgiveness and charity.

This is not the first time I have faced betrayal – probably not you either. And it won’t be the last. But I have learned at least that bitterness only takes root and grows. Regret becomes a sinkhole into which we fall if we are not careful. Unforgiveness poisons our spirits and shrivels our own experience of God’s grace and forgiveness.

After all these years I am still devastated when these things come. But I am learning better all the time how to live into and with that pain and move toward forgiveness and newness. If you struggle with this I am with you… but the struggle is worth it. Grow up with me into forgiveness and graciousness.

 

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Mmathew 5:18 The Message

 

Categories: Faith Journey | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Lessons from Wednesday – Learning to Forgive

  1. Randy, thank your for bravely sharing your heart today!

    You’re right that forgiveness is the way of healing. You are also right that forgiveness doesn’t mean trusting the injuring party, or going back for more. Victims of abuse know this truth. Church counselors of abuse victims should know it better. Full reconciliation cannot happen unless the person(s) who damage(s) others have FULLY and DEMONSTRABLY repented; words alone aren’t proof of a changed heart.

    Holy Spirit, please inspire Randy to be able to forgive as Jesus forgave all of us who put Him on that cross.

    • Well, drat! Just as I hit “Post Comment” I saw a typo. Your = you in the first sentence.

      • Ellen –

        Thanks for your comment (and correction :-). I am a pastor and I think we (the church) do a terrible job of both understanding and teaching forgiveness, let alone living it. And no where is that more true than in the area of abuse. Thanks for the clarity and encouragement and the insight, too.

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