A Lesson About Forgiveness
My son enjoying camp with friends. He’s such a ham.
I went to church camp with my two oldest kids last week which is the reason I didn’t post on the blog at all. Today I am in Louisville, Kentucky at the AP Reader Conference where I’m reading AP essay after AP essay, grading each one and trying not to lose my vision (It’s really not that bad).
Last Wednesday evening we attended tabernacle (worship service) with over 5,000 other students and sponsors and just before the services began the worship band began to play “Let It Go” from the Disney film Frozen. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but my youth minister, the awesome Scott Buck, showed our students the following video about a month ago. It was met with uproarious laughter.
Well…the obnoxious teen in me (which still exists down there somewhere) decided to scream like a goat during the song. My students laughed, all of them high-fiving me from nearby, but when I turned to bleat at our youth minister who sat two rows back I suddenly saw stars.
I opened my eyes to see a 17 year old girl with a balled up fist ready to punch me in the forehead once more.
“Did you just hit me?” I asked.
“You were making fun of my song,” she said, plainly.
“You have got to be kidding me,” I said, holding my throbbing noggin. “You punched me over a song?”
My beautiful Kaylee. She had so much fun at camp with her friends, playing hi-five tag and going on an icee date with her dad.
“Yeah,” she said coldly.
“Well, I suppose I’ll go get a police officer because you just assaulted me,” I said and began to walk away.
This did not phase her. She told me she didn’t care. I moved back to where I was and in anger said: “Well, congratulations. You just assaulted someone in the name of Jesus” and then sat down.
I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around in a defensive posture, fully expecting another blow.
“You’d be mad if I made fun of Star Wars,” she growled, indicating my t-shirt.
“Not really,” I said. “It’s a movie. I would never assault anyone over anything at all.”
That is when the Holy Spirit decided to take control. I did something completely out of character for me. I said the following:
“You know what. It’s ok. I didn’t deserve the forgiveness of Jesus, but he gave it to me anyway. You don’t deserve forgiveness for what you just did and so because Jesus forgave me, I’ll forgive you.”
“Why?” she asked, still stone, still unapologetic.
“Because Jesus allows me to love you even if you hit me. I love you in Christ, and I can forgive and love you.”
I then turned back around and looked at my students who sat slack jawed around me.
“You heard me, kids. I forgave her. That’s the end of it. We won’t speak of it again.”
And we didn’t. As we sat in service, listening to the praise and worship music that began, the adrenaline began to rise within me and I thought about not going forward and being a counselor for youth. I had signed up for it earlier in the week and my job was to pray with teens who had made a decision to follow Christ. I just didn’t feel in the right mind to do it. However, this was a plan of the enemy as well. I pushed past it, and prayed with several teens who made decisions that night anyway.
You see, forgiveness isn’t just something we say and then harbor a grudge. It is something we do and mean it. We must really forgive. I had every right to go seek justice for what that student did to me, but didn’t. It is my hope that my actions spoke louder than any sermon that student could ever hear.