Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FRESH START (01/05/17)
- TITLE: Forgiveness
By Lois Farrow
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Beth shut her mouth against the smart reply that sprang immediately to mind.
“No, I don’t,” she replied. She paused while she considered how she could explain herself.
“I’ll tell you two reasons why,” Beth said at last. “First of all Jesus said that he who is without sin should cast the first stone. I’m not without sin, so I can’t cast any stones.”
Julie looked sceptical. This was her elder sister who she always saw as very self-righteous. Here she was saying she wasn’t without sin, so how did she get to that?
“The second reason,” Beth went on, “is because of that verse in Romans where God says ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’. If I try to repay someone because I think they have wronged me, I’ll make a very poor job of it. I would rather leave it to God. He knows everything, and he will do the job so much better than I could.”
Beth knew her sister couldn’t stand being preached to, and had no interest in Scripture quotes, but how else could she explain herself? Scripture was the foundation of her life, and she couldn’t explain her reasoning without reference to God’s amazing words.
Julie made a face. “I can never forgive him,” she said. “He was such a hypocrite, just like all the other hypocrites in the church. Why do you think I don’t go anymore?”
“Actually, there is also a third reason.” Beth ignored her sister’s comment and carried on. “As you know, Dad has been dead for years now. If I still hold on to unforgiveness, resentment, and anger, it can’t hurt him, he is beyond all that. It only harms me. Why would I hold on to all that and turn myself into a little ball of bitterness?”
“Because he doesn’t deserve forgiveness,” Julie responded bitterly. “He was so … “
“None of us deserve forgiveness,” Beth cut in. “I know Dad wasn’t the perfect father, but he did the best he knew how. He was a product of his time, of his upbringing. He was so strict because that’s all he knew, and he was trying to protect his daughters, you and me. He might have overdone it, but it probably didn’t do us any harm.”
“Ha! Speak for yourself,” Julie said. “I think it did me a lot of harm, and I’m still mad at him.”
“I’m sorry you are still letting it hurt you,” Beth said. “I let it go years ago when God gave me forgiveness and gave me a fresh start. Another thing God says is to forgive others as he has forgiven us, so I can’t hang on to it. It’s a lesson I have to keep on learning, but I don’t want to ruin my life with hanging on to hurts of the past. I give them all over to God now and let him deal with them.”
“All very well for you, you were older and you didn’t seem to mind so much.”
Beth let the comment go, it wasn’t worth going into who had minded the most, or been the most hurt. She turned the conversation on to lighter subjects.
As Beth went home later, she thought how it was a miracle the conversation had even taken place. They got on well as sisters as long as several sensitive topics were carefully ignored. Maybe today’s conversation had opened a window. She could only hope and pray that Julie would think about what she’d said, and there would be further opportunity another day.
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