5 LOVE IN AC TION www.faithtoday.ca/LIA
It’s like – shouldn’t they know better? And there, I decide not
Christianity, it’s also probably the hardest thing to live out. I
don’t know about you, but I find it about 10 times harder to
forgive Christians that have hurt me, than to forgive people
who don’t know Jesus.
to forgive them, because I can’t find a valid excuse for their
This is where I have it all wrong.
I live in a small town; it’s a mix of older people trying to enjoy
their retirement, and young people itching to move away.
We’ve got a decent sized high school, with about 1200
students. Out of these students, about 20 kids would probably be caught dead anywhere near a church youth group. Mix
that fact with the reality that I’m a Pastor’s kid and the youth
group at my own church was my only option. Now, don’t get
me wrong, I have a couple of great friends at my church, and
we have a lot of fun together. We have countless inside jokes,
and have gone on numerous trips together. There’s almost
never a dull moment – but it took a really long time before we
were able to connect on a deeper level.
I’m somebody who craves the “real deal”. I have really wanted
to be a part of a complete community like the one described
in Acts 4:32: “All the believers were in one heart and mind. No
one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they
shared everything they had.” Believe me, I’m not saying that I
wanted to move in an apartment with everybody, but there’s
something I find really attractive about the commitment
of that kind of community. Unfortunately, that’s not what I
found at my youth group. I had to learn how to deal with my
own bad attitude before things got any better.
I liked my youth group, but I wanted more. I was dealing with
some pain in my own life, so I was hoping for a place where
our conversations could go beyond surface level talks. So I
dove in. I started to risk. During prayer time, I prayed simple
but honest prayers, and with different members of the group,
I began to share some of the pain that I was experiencing. I
thought that people would gather around me, and say the
right things. That didn’t happen. Our “popcorn prayers” felt
like they were only made with one kernel. When I shared my
problems, people looked at me like I was crazy. Talk about
Now maybe I’m just a hormonal teenager, but it seemed
that no one wanted to dig deeper or give support. It upset
me. I got bitter. I judged my friends. I bought into the lie
that having hate towards people who hurt me would
somehow make me feel better.
I believed that since they knew Jesus, I was allowed to hold
grudges against them. I thought forgiveness was important only if the person doesn’t know any better. The reality
is, God’s message of love and forgiveness matters during
the difficult parts of life, not just where or when it’s easiest.
When it’s hard to forgive, you probably need to do it all the
It’s easy to buy into the message that the world owes us
attention, that we have a right to not like those who hurt
us. But of course, I am lately reminded that God gives us all
of the love and attention that we could ever ask for. Holding grudges are the ways of the world, but God offers us
freedom through forgiveness as Jesus teaches patience
and love. If I want to follow him, I shouldn’t be a part of a
community to get the attention that I think I deserve. Community is about sacrifice and giving, as much as it is about
I am trying to live in a place of forgiveness and peace, supporting others when I can – God will give me the support
that I need. I’m walking the very thin line between forgiveness and grudges, and I like my youth group a whole lot
more as I find my way forward.