I’ve blogged about forgiveness before, mostly about how it’s easier to counsel someone to do it, than to actually do it yourself. I’ve had a couple of particularly tough cases (personally) over the past year. And as such, there are particularly difficult people to forgive. As a major Christian tenant, I’ve known it needed to happen. I’ve also known that every time I feel close to forgiveness, another incident happens and I think, “See! That’s why you’re simply impossible to forgive.” And I have to admit that, on occasion, my prayers for forgiveness go something like this: “Dear God, please help me forgive R for being such a dunderheaded jerk. Please help R see the error of R’s ways. Amen.” What can I say? I’m human.
Throughout Lent I made a concerted effort to pray for my relationship with R. I wanted forgiveness. I wanted to be free of the anger, the hurt, and the resentment. I wanted to be able to show R love even if I couldn’t feel loved by R. I have had countless conversations about this relationship. My sister’s prayer early on was, “Dear God, Please provide reconciliation in this relationship in a way where we have to acknowledge that it was you alone who made it happen.” A colleague/mentor/friend/prayer partner prayed, “May you have complete closure, restoration, and wholeness in this relationship so that nothing lies as an obstacle between you.” (Coming out of yet another difficult interaction, it was all I could do not to scoff).
I have prayed. I have doubted. I have been intentional. I have prayed more. I have given up. I have prayed some more. I set it out of the forefront of my mind. Then Easter week it happened. I had occasion to see R and at some point during the event, I looked at R and realized God had healed me/us. I was not angry. I was not bitter. I was not walled up. I was not hurting. God performed a miracle and had restored my heart. Just as my sister’s prayer had indicated, it was undeniable that it was a God thing because R was not asking for forgiveness and as much as I knew it was right, I couldn’t offer it.
God is good. God answered a prayer. (Multiple prayers actually).
It’s probably no coincidence that it happened in close proximity to Easter. That is what Easter is about right?! Forgiveness. Reconciliation. God doing what we cannot do for ourselves no matter how good or earnest our intentions. God bridging boundaries that we create amongst ourselves and then need to the divine to break down because we did such a phenomenal job of creating walls between and around us.
Praise God for the good news—the news that I do not have to do this for or by myself. Praise God for the good news that the blood of Christ, the conquest of death and sin and darkness is greater than my imagination will stretch.
Praise God for answered prayer.