So what is today? The day after Ash Wednesday. In the back of my mind I have been meaning to get to the point where I process the fact that we are now on the march to Easter. Now thirty nine days until we celebrate the cross. How can I prepare for that?
Often, I feel totally unprepared for forgiveness. Tonight, I've been watching a program on CBC entitled "Embracing Bob's killer". It's about a woman who's husband was killed when he tried to break up a party at the end of his street. The man who killed Bob was eventually sentenced with a man-slaughter conviction. Long story short (as I type this the program is not even over), the wife forgives the killer, and even introduces her children to him. She has created a new life for herself and including public speaking and books about forgiveness. They are showing footage of the two of them doing speaking engagements together.
I can't begin to imagine what that is like. I can't process what I would do if I was the one who lost my Tara to another person's action, would I forgive them? Would I be able to make that person apart of my life?
One of the comments the narrator of this program is: "...it is a complicated thing, this simple act of forgiveness..." I have to think about that. Is simply forgiving someone complicated? Is it easier to forgive and move on then not?
I'm not really sure. I need to think this one through a little more...
The questions I'm asking myself now are going something like this:
Who have I forgiven?
Is there someone I need to forgive?
Who has forgiven me?
Who have I hurt?
Do I think of salvation in the same way as I might think of personal forgiveness?
One of the other bits I found very interesting in the program was the question posed to the guy who had killed this man and done his sentence: "Have you forgiven yourself yet?" The answer was no.
Forgiveness, what a think to talk about. I mean we do talk about it in church, all the time we talk about it; but do we take it as personal as this? I'm not always so sure. I sometimes think we like to leave things at a comfortable distance.
We like to think and talk of forgiveness of ourselves and "others" (no names attached), but we don't like to put specifics to it. We don't like to think that serial killers and rapists could be forgiven, and if we did think they could be forgiven, we certainly wouldn't want to put our children in the same room as they are and encourage a relationship with them. Now, the program I referred to there was, as you might expect, limits to the relationship between the widow (now remarried) and the killer.
How do we think of forgiveness? Would we let someone into our homes who needed to be forgiven by us? Someone who had hurt us and our family, would we open our hearts and our homes and our children to them, to their influence?
I'm not sure I can say that I would be able to throw open my life to the killer of a loved one (for the record; no one in my life or that I know about has been killed), I'm fairly sure that I could forgive them and begin to pick up the pieces of my life and do something that resembled "moving on". But inviting that person into my life? Bringing them into my family like God did us? Bringing them into the fabric and core of my life?
As I write this, it dawns on me that is exactly what God did, he forgave the people who murdered his son and welcomed them into his family.
The thought that comes to mind is: "whoa".
And so we march towards the cross.