Thursday, September 25, 2014


The young woman is starting her last year of college. She is going to make the most of it. She has her tickets for the home football games. Her and her friends have a spring break trip planned to Florida. She and her three roommates went out tonight. They had so much fun. Her first class is at 8:00 tomorrow morning. It’s 2:15 in the morning. She can’t sleep.

Sunrise over Lake Zorinsky this morning. It's a new day. Yesterday is gone.

On the other side of the city is a man. 2:15 in the morning is a time he is all too familiar with. He steps out on the front porch for some fresh air. The air is cool, but heavy. The only sounds are the locusts and a delivery truck making the rounds a few blocks away. His wife is sleeping. He walks back inside and looks at an old family picture. His heart turns heavier than the humid Nebraska air.

Heavy is the way the young woman would describe her heart. Her parents were divorced when she was very young. It was okay. She had a good relationship with each parent and they even seemed to get along with each other. Then one day, her mom started dating a man. They eventually got married. The young woman acted happy for her mom, but it was an act. As an eleven year old, she sensed the man was trouble. And she was right. The man was verbally abusive to the mom and then to her. He moved out a week after her graduation. She wishes he had never moved in. He left a path of devastation: shattered dreams, emotional scars, and seven wasted years. The man lives in Louisiana now and has moved on, but it’s 2:15 and the girl isn’t sleeping. 

The man puts the picture down. A tear flows down his cheek. He sees his 16 year-old boy with a big smile on his face. The boy is 35 now. He has a couple kids of his own. The man hasn’t seen any of them for about five years. Well, he actually has watched a few soccer games from afar. He would give anything to give that granddaughter a hug after she scored that goal. He wouldn’t mind giving his son a hug either—just like the old days—but that isn’t going to happen. A fight over money took place and the two stubborn men haven’t spoken since.

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. –Ephesians 4:32

As the deer pants for streams of water, my soul longs for You, O God. -Psalm 42:1
Forgiveness is God's idea. And it's a good idea.

The young woman and the man live in the same city and a different world, but they desperately need the same thing: forgiveness. Not for the sake of the offending party, but for their sake. Forgiveness, at its core, is an act of self-interest. Not forgiving allows the offending party to continue to hurt the offended. Forgiving allows the heart to heal. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting or letting off the hook. Forgiving means to letting go of the past and its pesky travelling companions: anger, anxiety, and bitterness. Forgiveness is God’s idea for God’s children. And it’s a choice God gives us: we can remember and resent or we can forgive and live. 

The best is yet to come… 


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