I have not written on this blog for ages. Why? I hear you ask? In my head, I have penned many. However, I have been immersed in preparing for two major talks. I was asked to present a seminar on forgiveness at a Ministry Wives Conference. For some reason, which I now no longer remember, I said yes. However, I was completely out of my comfort zone. I asked my husband for help and he brought home some tomes and ordered additional reading material for me to sift through, read, ponder, write, ponder, write some more and then feel overwhelmed and wonder why I had said “yes”. I begged my husband to remind me of how I felt before the conference – stressed, anxious, doubtful of my abilities, wishing that I could bring him along and ask him to run it – oh he is so much wiser than I.
It is over, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. However, it allowed me to do some deep thinking and ask questions and then try and find answers to them from the Bible. It was a rich and good experience and I learnt much. I asked some dear friends to pray for me and they faithfully did and I experienced an empowering and seeing God’s word challenge, stretch and teach – it was truly remarkable. So, along with the sigh of relief was a heart filled with thankfulness to God.
I met up with a friend for coffee and was telling her about the conference. She shared a beautiful story with me about forgiveness. She has two daughters, one of whom is eight and the other is sixteen. The younger girl (I will call her Amy) had borrowed one of her older sister’s (I will call her Rose) precious books to take to school to read. It was part of a series that had been bought using pocket money that had been saved over a long period of time. Somehow, the book vanished, and Amy had to confess to Rose that she had “lost” this book and that she was very very sorry. Rose, unsurprisingly, was angry and expressed this strongly.
My friend had Amy awaking in floods of tears for a few mornings, feeling bad about what had happened to her sister’s book. She felt guilty and thought that Rose would never forgive her and would never be her friend again. My friend decided to communicate something of this to Rose, so she sent a text: “your sister thinks that you hate her, will never forgive her and will never be her friend again”.
That afternoon my friend watched Rose approach Amy, put her hands on her shoulder and say “Amy, I am sorry I was so angry with you. I forgive you. I want you to know that I love you and no matter what you ever do, I will never stop loving you and being your friend. Don’t worry about the book.” Amy visibly relaxed and they hugged. A reconciliation.
My friend was deeply touched by this exchange. She told me about her experience growing up in a family where sorry was not a word that was used, and bitterness, anger and resentment were harboured deep inside each family member. My friend was determined that she was going to raise her children differently. And she has!
Graphic found on Flickr: Taken by Stephen Cuyos, 16 April 2010. It includes the story from Luke 7:36-8:3 which I had used in my seminar. It is a remarkable story.