“I still can’t forgive them,” she replied with her eyes facing her lap, Bible still open to the passage about forgiveness in Matthew 7 we had been discussing.  I was at a loss for words.

She was not talking about people who had physically hurt her or her family, no one who had threatened her life or safety.  She was talking about people who had left her church ten years before.

Forgiveness is such a difficult subject. Almost every time I have preached on forgiveness, someone has come to me later to tell me how they were physically abused; raped; a family member murdered; an alcoholic father who abused their mother; a friend who betrayed a relationship. I have always listened, understanding that forgiveness does not come easy and even at times, I’m not sure it is possible, though I am sure we are called to struggle with it.

But it is situations like the one above, where someone could not forgive because of the actions of a group of people that did not cause physical harm but emotional hurt that always baffle me. I’m not her; I don’t know what it was like to go through that kind of betrayal by people.  But I do know that holding a grudge can be an identity marker; holding a grudge can define you….

read the rest at [D]mergent on the new site.

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