Posted in Disappointment
Scripture: “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). “Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13
Disappointment. We all have it in this life – we don’t get the job, we lose the game, we show up too late, we miss the mark, we come up short. But perhaps the disappointment that strikes most deeply is when someone, maybe even someone close to you, lets you down leaving you feeling empty, undervalued, unimportant, slighted, or maybe even hurt.
How does one respond as a faithful child of God trying to live differently in his way, especially when feeling wounded? Our Lord tells us to love one another, but what does love look like in the wake of relational disappointment?
In his letters to the neophyte churches in Ephesus and Colossae, the Apostle Paul sheds a little light for believers, in his time and our time, who struggle to rise above the self-absorbed ways of the world and embrace a true and better way. Paul says to get rid of bitterness, wrath, anger, wrangling, slander, all malice and be kind, tender-hearted and forgive one another. He says, “bear with one another” and, if someone complains against another, forgive each other; you must forgive just as the Lord has forgiven you.
Notice that forgiving is the key, even in the absence of an apology or acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Just as God, out of love and full of grace, chose to forgive us through Christ’s sacrifice, we must also forgive. Forgive. Wipe the slate clean and restore relationship. Love is full of forgiveness and grace.
“To err is human, to forgive divine,” wrote the famous English poet Alexander Pope in 1711 in his An Essay on Criticism, Part II. We are all, every one of us, fallen and prone to make mistakes, but by the grace of God, we are also created in his image with the capacity to respond divinely in the face of disappointment. With the help of the Holy Spirit, might we take a deep breath when thus confronted and choose to embrace a true and better way.
Prayer: Gracious and loving God, help us forgive one another in love and grace, even in the wake of relational disappointment. May your divine light shine brightly through us as a beacon for a true and better way. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
Submitted by Pam Halligan