When forgiveness is the “F” word in your life…
The theme of this morning’s sermon was service—not just to the church, but to each other. Pastor B said that one of the core values of the church should be that we have each other’s backs. Which is counter to what’s prevalent in the culture today: I’ll get mine and you get yours.
This idea of support can be a hard one to walk out cause let’s face it, we’re still human. And we just don’t like everybody. I definitely don’t like everybody. Sometimes for no good reason I can articulate we just don’t click. Or people just make you angry. Or you just can’t find a way into even an acquaintanceship with someone, much less a friendship.
There’s a woman at church who I used to be great friends with. Nearly every Sunday after church you could find us at Starbucks or knocking around Silver Spring. After about a year and a half of this suddenly she was busy every Sunday. She finally outright told me that it was football season and she couldn’t hang out with me at all until the end of it. (And she had no explanation why she hadn’t felt this way during the previous year’s football season.) I tried to be gracious about it even as my heart was breaking, and endeavored to mend the friendship (after football season). But though it’s been a few years now, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to trust her again, or to even muster up enthusiasm for that friendship. I completely suck at the turn the other cheek and forgiveness thing.
So is it possible to have her back when I lack confidence that she’ll ever truly have mine? And how do you forgive someone completely, wipe the slate clean, when you know from a pattern of past behavior that they will continue to let you down? How do you disciple Judas, teach him, encourage him, call him, have dinner with him, knowing that he’s going to let you down in the most profound way?
I don’t have any answers…. no, that’s not true. I know God’s answer is “Forgive anyway.” I guess it’s more true to say I just don’t have the courage to live out God’s answer on this one. But hopefully with his grace this season of unforgiveness will also come to an end. Even if I never learn to like football.