Friday, March 7
“And you will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.”
My niece rang me on the phone. She had met a young woman in distress and wanted to give her my number. It wasn’t long before the young woman called. I invited her to our house. I wondered if she needed money.
When she arrived I discovered she was well educated and from a wealthy family. She didn’t need money, but she did need friendship. She had just arrived from Indonesia to join her husband, only to be met by news that caused her great pain. Someone had taken advantage of her financially. She was in a strange country and knew few besides the people who had caused the hurt. My heart broke for her. She did need a friend, and God had sent her to me.
We had tea, and she began to tell me her story. After a few hours she was feeling a little better. She went home with my promise that I would be there whenever she needed me. Over the next few months and countless cups tea we became close. Even after she moved to a different city we still got together as often as possible. We drank tea, she talked, and I listened.
Our conversation always seemed to get around to the hurt, disappointment, and anger she was hanging onto. I wondered if she ever would be free of hate and mistrust. She wanted to move on. She wanted to let go and heal, but it was too difficult. She read every book that might help her through the darkness and pain.
She prayed and prayed. It took a long time, a lot of work, and many cups of tea, but with God’s help she was able to let go, forgive, and heal!
Now she and her husband live in a city several miles from us. They have two children and are happily involved in a congregation with other Indonesian émigrés. I don’t hear from her often, but she sent me a beautiful tea set. It was a lovely surprise, a reminder of the many cups of tea we drank as she walked her path of healing. How blessed I was to share in her journey to wholeness.
Prayer for Peace
Compassionate God, help us realize your forgiveness as we forgive others. Help us rid ourselves of hurt, disappointment, and anger. Help us live peaceably with one another.
Spiritual Practice: An Offering of Ashes
God promises healing for our wounds and losses. Hold (or imagine holding) a pinch of ashes in your hands as you become aware of situations in your life, family, congregation, and world that are broken, lost, or falling apart. Be honest with God about the fear, sadness, or burden you feel. Offer the ashes to God in prayer. Ask God to create beauty, peace, and healing in the places and people now experiencing the ashes of despair and grief.
Today, God, I will forgive and shake off hurtful actions.