Forgiveness?

You hate to hear stories like this. A few days ago, a teen is killed in a hit-and-run accident. The police found the driver who hadn’t stopped or tried to help.

The family is left struggling with how and why this could happen. I saw that news report last night. It caught my attention when the mother mentioned how she was praising Jesus when she heard they’d caught the guilty party.  But I went from interested to confused when she went on to say that she could never forgive that lady for killing her son. “How could you?” she says matter-of-factly.

The painful wound of loss and grief is naturally still fresh. I’ve lost a family member and that is not something you just ‘get over’. I feel for that mother and I especially feel for the fact that she cannot forgive. One moment she’s thanking Jesus for the arrest, the next she’s completely shut off to the possibility of forgiveness. Part of me wants to jump up and scream, “how can you praise Jesus but not forgive?” Our Father forgave us for the sin that killed his Son and Jesus is the only solution that can bring the healing she clearly is searching for.

Whatever her spiritual condition, the disconnect is troubling. But it’s all too common in those who call themselves Christians. James 3:9-10 came to my mind quickly:

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

We all say things we don’t mean when we are in the midst of deep pain. But those sufferings ought to draw us to Christ and as we do, his healing power will make us more like Him – more forgiving, more loving, more holy. That is the path of genuine faith and it restores it’s broken travelers. Bitterness is the path of dead faith and it eats its travelers alive.

Which one will we travel when our next crisis hits?

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