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Lenten Devotional, March 18: By Charis Smith

Forgiveness, whether given or received, is always personal. It also is always a story. Here’s mine. 

For fifty-six years I was married to David Smith: an entrepreneur, a direction changer, an impulsive treader of uncharted paths. His journey was so exciting to him, he never saw how it affected those around him. I developed a mantra. He loves me. He is faithful. He is generous. He is a child of God. Then he died and left strings untied and papers unsigned. The last two years have been uncertain about important issues. Rivers have needed to be forded and walls to be torn down. My memories have been soured and the constant thought has been “Why couldn’t David have ……?” That’s what unforgiveness is, the festering under a scab that hinders healing. 

A funeral gave me Psalm 46 from the Message. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us. In case I missed it, my son’s church had that for the litany in late January.  All repeated with me: Jacob-wrestling God fights for us. Jacob, who left at odds with his brother and has been gone long enough to have two wives and many children, needs to become the person who can accept forgiveness and restore harmony. In these two years, I have not stood alone. David left children to help, employees who loved him enough to deal with business, and we were given professionals who could shake their heads, smile, and tell us what to do next. God fighting for us. 

So, I opened my hands and welcomed back David as he was, knowing he probably cheerfully would say, “See, it turned out just right.”  


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