I’m not much for watching movies. I haven’t been inside a movie theater in more than 10 years. Unless a movie grabs my attention, I get bored, look at the clock and wonder when it will be over.
Several years ago, I read the book “The Shack.” When I saw that an HBO movie based on the book was out, I recorded it. It was on my DVR for a long time.
On a recent weekend when both of our girls were home, we decided to watch it together. I won’t spoil the book or the movie for you, but I can tell you the theme was forgiveness.
This brought up my own issues with forgiveness. There have been times in my life where forgiving someone is the last thing I would do.
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The recent social media campaign #MeToo recalls one such case. Because I often felt isolated and depressed growing up due to bullying, my trust in people can be challenged. Tumultuous and abusive relationships still weigh heavy on my heart. What I thought were close friendships dissolved leaving a sharp sting.
Why should I forgive people who have hurt me?
In “The Shack,” a father suffers a family tragedy and faces a crisis of faith. Forgiveness is the furthest thing from his mind. A woman helps him see how he has judged people in the past and opens him to forgive those who have hurt him.
Forgiveness doesn’t come easy, but it’s necessary. A verse from poet and author Beau Taplin has always brought me peace:
“I forgive you. Not for you, but for me. Because like chains shackling me to the past I will no longer pollute my heart with bitterness, fear, distrust or anger. I forgive you because hate is just another way of holding on, and you don’t belong here anymore.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” (NIV)
…Just as in Christ, God forgave you. God forgives us when we wrong others and expects nothing less from us when others do us wrong.
What are your thoughts on forgiving someone who has wronged you?
Lisa Plorin of Upham, N.D., is president of the Women of the ELCA’s executive board.