Recently I had the opportunity to come face to face with someone I needed to forgive but have had a hard time with doing so.
When my dad passed away two and half years ago, I was an emotional wreck, constantly on the verge of breaking down in public, which is a completely understandable reaction. A few days after losing him I went to the gym, where I encountered a local well-known minister who had cooled toward me in recent years for reasons unknown to me. But on this day he asked a general “How are you?” without knowing what had just occurred. As I was prone to do, I broke down sobbing right in the lobby of the gym and told him that I had just lost my dad. I can’t sugarcoat this next part in any way. He simply looked at me and left me standing there in my grief. No words of encouragement, no prayer, no arm around my shoulder. And every time I’ve encountered him since then I’ve had my guard up, and only offered a cursory greeting in passing. Honestly, it’s been all I could do just to bring myself to speak to him since that day.
This recent encounter didn’t have the markings of a special occasion. He didn’t go out of his way to say anything to me other than hello, but something stirred in me to forgive and let go of the resentment bubbling under the surface. I realized that there may be some internal reason for his hostility that he’s unable to express to me which would shed light on why he reacts to me in the manner he does. But it doesn’t matter. That’s his burden to bear until he decides to relieve himself of it. On my side, I was able to forgive him on this day, regardless of any circumstances.
We hear so many stories of people walking away from Christianity because of church hurt, but my relationship with Jesus has always led me to understand myself keenly. Because I know that even as a follower of his I’m still susceptible to being human, I’ve never considered walking away from Christ or his church because of the behavior of others. We’re all in the process of being conformed to his image. None of us are completely there yet.
DAVE BUMGARNER (WBFJ’s CROSSROAD RADIO)
MON-FRI 1P-3P, SUN 6A-10A