Finding Forgiveness in the Midst of Pain
What is forgiveness?
I woke up this morning, had my time in the Word, then headed to my prayer closet to get the day started off on the right foot.
I quickly glanced at my phone and noticed a breaking news story - another officer had been shot and killed; this time practically in our back yard.
I dropped to my knees. "NO! God, NO!! Not another," I cried.
Tears began to stream down my face. Law enforcement life is hard enough, but added to the frustrating mix is this skewed notion that Cops are expendable...evil...inhuman.
Like a bad video game that people play, some have swallowed this nonsense that one can shoot an officer without feeling, forethought, or emotion - that his or her life doesn't matter; that he or she does not have people who love them or purpose in this world. I know this to be true, because against my better judgment, I have read some of the comments on stories involving police. There is a real hatred out there and one can almost hear the hiss of the evil one as he feeds them his anger and revenge.
Yet, there is another voice vying for my attention. This voice is quiet...calm...full of love and concern.
"Forgive. They know not what they do."
Forgive? Are you kidding me? I want to hunt them down...lash back out...cause them to somehow feel even a minute measure of the pain our police families feel. Yet again I hear:
My mind races back to what I know and understand. We are ALL in need of a heart change. We ALL need a Savior to draw us out of that dark pit and aid our minds to embrace love, not hatred.
For without God in our lives...without that life changing, soul saving, heart altering power, there is not one of us who could stand before a holy God. We are dirty and broken. Our very nature bends towards evil. The Bible tells us that the "heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure."
If it wasn't for God's spotless lamb, who took our place on the cross - who faced His accusers with not a word and offered Himself to humiliating torture by those filled with such hatred and jealousy towards Him...if it wasn't for Jesus, we would not be any better off than those who do these evil deeds. Our life would not have purpose. Our time here on earth would be futile and wasted. Our eternity doomed to suffering and shame, and perhaps, we might even encompass some of that skewed, malicious-filled mentality.
I don't understand all the why's of what happened this morning or what has happened time and again over the years, but I do know that God is not absent or unfeeling or unknowing. He was there this morning as the mayhem broke out. He was there when this officer took his last breath. He was there when this man, for whatever reason, lured those officers and drew his weapon. In the middle of it all, He offered Himself...offered a choice...two different paths. Yet, it was the man who chose wrongly. In his selfishness, he chose hate. In his anger, he chose revenge. In his fractured life, he chose the path of destruction and not life-giving love.
So, today there is suffering. Today a mother weeps for her son. Co-workers weep for their brother. A community weeps for another tragic loss. Yet, the Bible tells us that "weeping will last for a night, but joy will come in the morning."
The morning is life with Jesus. He's the one that can restore order and heal wounds.
I ask the question again, "What is forgiveness?"
Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness is letting go of the one who brought hurt, and giving him or her over to the Father who heals.
Today we need healing. We need forgiveness. We need Jesus.
Pray for our blue family. We are in mourning yet again.