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Bobbie Jo Morrell is a mountain woman, poet, writer, leather crafter, rustic furniture builder, cat owner, technical writer, website designer. She says, “Colorado’s Front Range, with the smell of pine trees in the cool air of morning, is my home.” Her blog address: http://soulscompass.blogspot.com/.

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Deeper Warrior Chapter 14: It’s About Forgiveness

My  finger tapped the open page of the brand new Ryrie Study Bible (NASB) before me.

“So, what’s this where Jesus is telling us to forgive as we have been forgiven? How does that work?”

Christine looked up from her Bible. “Well, forgiveness is necessary to remove obstacles to relationship, you know, between people, and with God.”

She set her Ryrie aside and leaned forward in the chair. “Like when you and I had that conversation about the night I broke my ankle, when you were, er, incapacitated…”

“Yes, I remember.” My face felt suddenly warm.

“I was hurt that you weren’t, well, really there for me that night. And you felt bad about it too, didn’t you? So we were able to talk about it, forgiveness came in, and our friendship became deeper and better, right?” She threw her arms wide in a generous gesture, beaming at me.

“Right.” I couldn’t help but smile back at her, full of gratitude.

“But let’s say you hadn’t felt bad, or decided that you were justified somehow – or I decided that I couldn’t stop being hurt about that, couldn’t let go of it, what would have happened then? Broken relationship.” Her hand moved in a knife-like wave. “It would have become a huge obstacle, and interfered with our friendship. It works with God that way, too. I bring myself to God, whatever sorry state I’m in, without getting stuck in defensiveness or hurt, and the broken relationship with God is restored—because of Jesus.”

“Yes, I kind of get that.” I scowled for a while at the black letters printed on the onion skin paper, scratching at them lightly with a fingernail. Then I flipped back to a previous section of the text.

“Here it says too, that we should love our enemies, not just our friends.”

“Ye-es.” Chris sat back thoughtfully. She tapped her chin a few times before speaking again.

“Remember last fall, when I broke up with Dave, then?”

“Oh, yes! Denise and I had been telling you to dump him for quite a while.”

She smiled ruefully at me. “Yes, indeed. But during finals week I did break up with him, and then went over to your place on the west side to hide out. While I was there, he came here looking for me here at Ash House, stomping and shouting and threatening violence.”

I nodded. “We were afraid he would hurt you. Physically, I mean. He’d already hurt you…”

“So I have to forgive him for hurting me, but that doesn’t mean that I should let him hurt me any more, or risk physical injury.”

“No-o-o.” I cocked my head to one side, trying to grasp the mist swirling around in my brain. “So, what’s the big deal about forgiveness, then?”

Chris thought for a minute. “I guess maybe holding on to the hurt and sense of injury, not letting it go, interferes with my relationship with Jesus. If I spend my time and energy nursing a grudge, or wallowing in pain, then I get stuck there. Like how it could have been an obstacle between you and me—it was also an obstacle between us and God that we need to hand over to him, and not let it shut us down.”

She looked at me with smiling eyes. “I mean, if I stayed wound up in how Dave hurt me, how would I have time and energy to read through Matthew with you, or do things with the other girls, or get any school work done? It would be a serious drag.”

I scratched at the letters again, slowly. “But it still hurts, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t eat me up; it doesn’t control me. Usually, anyway. I feel the hurt, but I try to turn it over to God and not cling to it.”

Her gaze sharpened, and I felt her waiting, silently questioning.

Looking up quickly to make sure the door to my room was closed, I spoke in a low voice.

“So if I don’t forgive the guy who raped me as a kid, then that could become an obstacle in my relationship with God.” My eyes were riveted on the worn carpet.

Chris let out a breath with the sound usually written as, “Whew!”

“Bobbie…” She stopped, tried again. “I… well, I don’t think you have to put yourself at risk, or anything…”

My dark, sarcastic sense of humor came to my rescue. “I don’t see myself running to Nebraska to give him a big bear hug, no.”

Christine’s quiet laugh was tinged with sadness.

I rubbed my forehead vigorously, as if trying to erase some mark. “But what will it look like?”

“I don’t know.” Chris leaned forward and took my hand. “I guess we should just ask? Maybe all you need to do to start is tell Jesus that you don’t want it to be an obstacle, but you don’t know how to get started or what to do. He won’t leave you all alone to do it yourself, I’m sure of that.”

story by bobbie jo morrell, all rights reserved

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