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Roses and Forgiveness

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."  Luke 23:34 NIV

Roses hurt.

Whenever I prune the roses in my garden, I inevitably prick my finger, and it bleeds. But roses have a beautiful side too. The velvety petals and the fresh floral scent with delicate undertones of plum, berry, and apple always lift my spirit. As I inhale deeply, I drift into another world.

Like the scent of roses, kind words from a trusted friend build me up. Yet I seldom let my guard down for a deep friendship to flourish. After a year of getting to know one close friend, I took a risk, let my walls down, and shared deeper parts of my life with her. She had demonstrated kindness and trustworthiness.

A year later, she used misleading words to describe me to others in my presence. Her words hurt. Any effort to reconcile failed. Her silence showed talking through what happened would not take place. My tender heart shriveled.

Night after night, with gut-wrenching cries to God, I asked Jesus, “Why? Why did she say what she said? Why did she choose to say nothing further to me?” Her silence persisted toward me, like an enemy giving the silent treatment. With broken trust and deep hurt, our friendship disintegrated.

I chose not to blame her for her choice of words. Sometimes we don’t know what thoughts cross through someone’s mind or why they choose to say what they do. My guard went back up as my cries and pain lingered for weeks, then months.

Jesus also had enemies—people who wanted Him dead. As He hung on a cross to die, His first words spoke directly to the hearts of His enemies. He asked the Father to forgive them for they didn’t know what they were doing. Jesus has infinite love and mercy. He forgave even when His offenders failed to ask for forgiveness.

My friend remained oblivious to the full impact of her words and her silence. Like the roses in my garden, those who love deeply can also hurt deeply. I have learned that forgiving others for causing unintentional hurt allows someone like me to love again.

Who has hurt you that you need to forgive?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

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Caroline Hales

Caroline Hales is a project manager, a student at Dallas Theological Seminary, and a freelance writer. She has an adorable niece in California who teeters as she toddles. Her passion to share Christ with others has progressively grown while serving in church ministry roles including evangelism and women’s ministry. She lives in Ontario, Canada.