In addition to being a time for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, Lent is a season of reconciliation and healing, a time for forgiveness: to both give it and receive it. Each of us has been hurt relationally or damaged emotionally by painful occurrences in our lives. Though we eventually get beyond the agony through much heartache and loneliness, heartbreak and tears, we can learn from one another’s experiences. We can heal better when we know that we’re not alone in our suffering.
I was asked to join Robert and Kelly Pascuzzi in launching a podcast called “Time For Forgiveness.” The concept for this podcast grew from the overwhelming response to their book, The Ravine, which was subsequently turned into a movie. Readers and viewers want to deal with, and move on from, horrible encounters they experience. As they seek deeper understanding of difficult situations many come to realize that the best way to do this is through forgiveness. I invite you to listen to the inaugural podcast by clicking here (timeforforgiveness.org/episodes) and, if you wish, sign up to receive future podcasts that deal with personal stories of forgiveness, mercy, healing, and holiness. You will hear people’s accounts of the loss of loved ones through murder, suicide, and accident, stories about divorce and abandonment, narratives about bullying, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse—things and events that are difficult to forgive. Though most of us cannot forgive and forget or give a full pardon for devasting injustices done to us, we can find ways to disentangle ourselves from the suffering and pain.
My hope is that the conversations with Kelly and Bob will inspire each of us to have similar conversations with family members at home or with friends at appropriate times. Incidents that get discussed on the podcast will resonate your own experiences. Gut-wrenching emotions, from anger, guilt, anxiety, hatred, shame, or despair, will touch some of your own feelings; and the ways others worked through them may help you to overcome lingering pain from a devastating event you endured or get you through a punishing circumstance in your life. Though such events change us and often remain with us forever, we need to find a path forward. I think that the best path is forgiveness because it is the one that will free us from the devastation and pain.
As the church invites us to receive Lent as a time of healing, let us consider forgiveness as a means to heal from past hurts. Though it is darn near impossible to forgive and forget, let us forgive and move on to a more wholesome existence.