Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Lesson in Forgiveness

In February I watched ABC’s production of A Raisin in the Sun. At first I watched it just to see what all the hype was about. It seemed like, for weeks, every other commercial break featured an ad for it, promising that it would be “The most powerful night of television all season.” Wow, I had to see this!

I was not disappointed. If you missed the movie, rent it when it comes out on DVD in May. Not only is it a great story of strength and involve some amazing female characters, but I also caught a powerful message of forgiveness—one that I didn’t realize until later that I needed to hear.
I won’t give the story away, but in the play, Lena’s son Walter does something incredibly selfish and irresponsible (to put it mildly). In the process he jeopardizes the future of his entire family. It’s pretty clear from scene one that he has done similar things before, but this time he blows it in such a huge way that most families would have sent him packing. Lena certainly has the right to considering that she is hurt the most. Instead, Lena forgives her son. Does she let him off the hook and encourage a repeat performance? Not at all! Are the consequences easy for Walter? No way! But in the end the entire family seems stronger. Most incredible of all, it’s clear that Walter grows in a way that would not have happened if he hadn’t made the biggest mistake of his life.

A week or so later, I realized that I was still struggling to forgive someone who hurt me. The message of A Raisin in the Sun came back to me. If Lena could forgive her son for such a heart breaking betrayal then what was holding me back. I no longer have to see my betrayer; she had to continue living with Walter. So I decided to forgive—because Jesus modeled and instructed it and because, as this movie reminded me, others have had to forgive big hurts too—many bigger than the one I suffered.

Who knew that I television production of a classic play would lead to a step of growth in my own life.

So, who do you need to forgive? Why are you finding it difficult to do? Ask God to help you take the next step in the forgiveness process. Maybe it’ll help to do what I did—consider someone who had to forgive far more!

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