I’d begin this blog post with the words of Jesus, “Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must be that offenses come.” If He says that surely offenses must come, who are we to say otherwise.
I had a friend, in the previous year, who was always known to be very bitter. You dared not step on her wrong foot and not apologize, she had the ability to hold hurt for as long as a sponge has the ability to retain lather.
But as usual, she loved to pray, and when I mean pray, I mean pray long – longer than the average Christian. So when you come to church, she’s the person who opens the door for you, and when you need a seat, she gleefully gives you her seat. She’s the usher with the offering basket, back-up to the choir leader, and the chief protocol to the Pastor’s wife. She’s everything to everybody, and when service is over, she’s among the counselors for the new converts, in the hospitality team for first timers, and among the cooks who give guest ministers something to take home.
You’d find her at the door of the church, on the church’s podium, in the Pastor’s office, in the children’s church, in the toilet, in the car park, in the Pastor’s house, in your house, in my house, in everybody’s house. She’s like the proverbial harlot whose husband had gone on a long journey, who was begging for a one night stand from a straying stranger, who had prepared her bed graciously with everything good you could think of. She was calling, with the energy of a child on the playground, running with the vigor of a horse set in battle array.
She was in the air, in the water, in everything. She’d morph herself into everything called life, trying to get into our very being, to make her home within. She was my friend, and we did not have some little memories together. She accompanied me to school, to church, to birthdays and anniversaries, to weddings and funerals, to art exhibitions and on long walks. She was on my Instagram posts, Facebook stories, and WhatsApp status. I mean, she was everywhere: my friend, sister, wife, mother, everything.
But she was offence. And she still is. And with everything I let go in the past year, she was one of them. I’m learning to forgive: myself – for being so undisciplined, for playing too close to depression and sadness, and all the bad energy frustration throws at you; my neighbor – for harboring thoughts not peculiar to a Christian, for not being forgiving enough, for not even trying to make amends; God – like I had the power to be angry at the one who created me. It’ll be a long journey, but now I’m glad I have gratitude, and forgiveness with me.
– Fabian O.