The landscape of Lent is often painted as a desert. These weeks before Easter can be a thirsty time, a lonely time. They invite us on a journey of examining our souls to see where we fall short, making our way between the oases that reveal God's mercy.
The journey may seem unending at times. We make it in the shadow of the cross. But we gently carry the knowledge that death doesn't have the final word. There is new life on the other side-and joy. So we are invited to enter the season boldly, knowing that we walk toward a promise.
February 19: The Courage to Forgive
Genesis 45:3-11, 15; Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40; 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50; Luke 6:27-38
Last fall, 25 members of Murder Victims' Families for Reconcil-iation toured Georgia on a "Journey of Hope," speaking throughout the state about their experience. All had lost a loved one to murder. And all had taken the long journey from grief through bitterness to forgiveness. They had discovered, as Don Mosley of Jubilee Partners, a sponsor of the tour, put it, "the power of compassion to heal their own wounds."
The community at Jubilee Partners gathered one evening to hear George White, one of the tour members, share his struggle to overcome the hatred that had poisoned his life for years after the murder of his wife.
"A man kills your wife, and you forgive that man?" responded an emotion-laden voice in the crowd. "I don't understand how it is possible!" The voice was that of a 16-year-old Bosnian who had recently arrived at Jubilee as a refugee from her war-torn land. "I hope..." she continued softly, her eyes brimming with tears, "I hope I can forgive the Serbs like that in 10 years."
Mr. White, who has a daughter about the same age as the young woman, crossed the room and gently placed his hands on her shoulders. "Honey," he said warmly, "you have to try. It's the only way to find healing from all this rotten mess."