The Bright Sadness: Lent Week 5 March 17, 2015
Join us each Wednesday through the season of Lent. Each week we’ll stream a free Ed’s Story film and follow with reflections to guide our thoughts for the week.
The Bright Sadness series has come to a close as of April 6, 2015, and while the film is no longer streaming for free we invite you to watch a clip from the film below. You can rent or download this week’s film, Ed’s Story Ask Forgiveness, here.
The simple mention of the word “forgiveness” can be enough to bring specific faces and painful situations to mind. Maybe it’s the face of a person we once wronged. Or an unjust situation where we were left hanging, never to be acknowledged.
I was left with no words… I was just left. And that was very humiliating. I remember feeling abandoned. Like what I was doing was foolish. And I realized that Ed did not feel my pain. Ed was not who I always thought he was.
We’re told that time heals all wounds, but years later we find ourselves still suffering, wondering why those wounds aren’t healed yet. Or we hope that our guilt for the way we hurt someone else will eventually fade. But in those quiet moments of honesty when we’re still enough to reflect, we realize the pain we experienced and the pain we caused another person is just as real now as it was then.
I sat down one day, and wrote a list of everybody I knew I had offended. And I began working my way through the list. Some people, I knew in the relationship I was right and they were wrong. But I finally decided relationship is way more important than who’s right and who’s wrong.
It’s easy to come up with reasons to not ask forgiveness. “Too much time has passed.” “They won’t want to see me.” “It won’t make a difference.” “It’s in the past, it doesn’t matter anymore.” The risk of forgiveness seems to outweigh the benefit.
I think forgiveness is a great idea until you have someone to forgive. And then it’s very difficult. You have to humble yourself. You have to admit you were wrong. You have to look at the person in the eyeballs, and all of that’s intimidating.
After Jesus’ resurrection, he commissioned the disciples to spread the gospel by strategically asking Peter, “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17) Peter must have felt singled-out. The last thing Peter had done prior to Jesus’ death was deny that he even knew Jesus. To make it worse, earlier that same night Peter had promised that he would do no such thing. But in a moment of weakness, he abandoned Jesus. Even still, Jesus entrusted his message of love and life to him. Jesus entrusts his gospel to the betrayers, the abandoners, the weak, and the failures. He entrusts his message to those of us who are in desperate need of forgiveness.
When he got in the office, he got on his knees and almost on his face, and named everything that had been done against me. When he came in and asked my forgiveness, I realized that our relationship was being reconciled. I will never forget seeing Ed in front of me. It would have been much different with a phone call or a letter or an email. But to look into his face, to see his eyes, does something very mysterious that is eternally impacting me.
Jesus’ resurrection doesn’t just give us hope for eternity. It gives us hope for today. It makes reconciliation available to us now. Resurrection and reconciliation are available for those relationships that seem dead and over. Resurrection is available for the deepest part of our hearts that have been wounded, run over, and forgotten. And we don’t have to wait for it. It’s already here.
From whom do you need to ask forgiveness? Who do you need to forgive? Will you dare to make a list?13