Scripture Luke 23:32—35
Like sharp nails through sheet metal, through hard wood, through tender flesh – the damage pierces my soul. A word. A phrase. A look.
It snowballed. One thing led to another. One mistrust to another hurt. One nail to the next nail.
I hate her.
I hate him.
I hate what was done, and what I have become. I hate my powerlessness. I hate being a victim. I hate. I hurt.
I can’t save myself.
How could I ever forgive?
How could Jesus forgive?
How do I pull these rusting nails out of my soul and offer a prayer of forgiveness?
How did Jesus do it?
And a part of me knew what I was doing. A part of me did not.
I drove those nails in.
I spoke those words that won’t come back.
I did those things that cannot be undone.
Time will not reverse for me. Although I keep praying it will.
I wonder – when others see me – do they see the criminal or the penitent?
Do they see what I did, or what I want to do?
Who do they see?
I hate me.
I hate the situation.
I hate that God forgives but I sure can’t forgive myself.
And my victims…
Would they ever forgive me? Dare I even ask?
I don’t deserve it. Forgiveness is grace.
Unearned. Unmerited. Grace.
Oh holy God – the nails get removed, but the damage is done.
Teach us to forgive as you forgive.
The damage may or may not heal – but the forgiveness removes the nails to let the hope of healing begin.
And we are a people of hope.
– Who do you need to forgive?
– Who’s forgiveness do you crave?
Spoken at to the Thuston-Baltimore Ministerial Association Good Friday Service, 2018.