Lenten Devotional, March 23: By Larissa Fletcher

Published March 23, 2020 by SMBC

I lost my husband to cancer in 2016. I heard words like how ?brave? I was and how ?proud? people were of me?I felt the exact opposite. I felt like a fraud. The months leading up to his diagnosis were some of the toughest in our marriage. He stopped helping me out around the house and stopped helping with our infant - which made me resentful and angry. We argued daily. He claimed ?I just don't feel good.? I remember telling him, ?I am tired of that excuse.? I told a coworker how frustrated I was and actually said the words, ?I?m going to feel terrible if this turns out to be something serious.? A few days later we found out that his symptoms were due to cancer. I told John, ?I?m sooooo sorry - I should have listened to you.? He told me, ?You are forgiven - a thousand times over.? John forgave me, and yet over four years later I STILL struggle to forgive myself.

I am very capable of GIVING forgiveness to others. I don't stay mad at other drivers when they cut me off in traffic. I assume that friends or coworkers must have something more pressing going on in their lives if one of them is short with me. I live with a preschooler and a toddler - so I?m well adept at saying, ?I forgive you? and meaning it. So why do I struggle so much with forgiving myself?

I realize my actual struggle is with guilt. I am a physician by trade - so I felt like I should have connected the dots and figured out John had cancer. (As a physician I do realize that even IF I would have figured this out a few weeks earlier - the outcome would have still been the same.) I was his wife so I should have realized his change in behavior was more than just an ongoing argument.

I have found comfort in the verse Psalms 32:5 - ?I acknowledge my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity. I said, ?I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,? and you forgave the guilt of my sin.? Christ died on the cross not only for my sin - but also for my GUILT. Jesus suffered and died so that I may LIVE.