Several years ago, an event orchestrated by people professing to love, left me deeply wounded. Though I was not the intended target, the fall out from collateral damage marred my spirit and soul. The anguish suffered was so profound, I wondered if healing would ever come. Slowly, Father chipped away at my barricaded heart, applying His gentle touch and a soothing salve. Today, I recognize the restoration of my former self, yet a question plaques me, “have I truly forgiven my betrayers?”
What does forgiveness look like? The story of the prodigal son comes to mind. A rebellious son squanders his inheritance and then returns home to a celebration. A joyous father accepts his humbled son without reservation. Does walking in forgiveness mean relating to the joyous father? There are no party plans on my agenda; my preference would be to never again cross paths with those who hurt me. In fact, I had the opportunity to attend a function where many individuals from my past would gather. Thoughts of being in their vicinity caused the emergence of fangs and claws. Rather than suffer lock jaw from clenching my teeth all evening, I stayed home. Perhaps forgiveness is still under construction?
Herein lies the dilemma; seeds of bitterness in my heart will affect my relationship with Father. Pondering the situation, pictures of Christ on the cross emerge. He was falsely accused, betrayed, beaten and yet cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” What Christ endured is far worse than any perceived wrongs suffered by me. Still, I struggle; does complete forgiveness mean I am able to stumble upon someone who hurt me without reliving the past?
Right now there are more questions than answers, but of one thing I am certain; I have doubts regarding the state of my forgiveness. Excuse me please while Father gently applies more salve.