Family Forgiveness

Dear Russell & Friends,

A brief companion to yesterday’s reflection on how a family must sometimes fight to preserve itself and maintain integrity.  Families also don’t leave.  They don’t stop when members do painful things.  They love deeply, especially in the context of disagreement and disappointment.  That is not acquiescence to wrong.  It is the decision to love someone even if her opinion is wrong.  It is the decision to love when you just can’t like.  It is patient and kind, neither envying nor boasting.  It is not arrogant, rude, irritable or resentful.  It rejoices in truth, not wrongdoing.  It does not insist on its own way.  It bears, believes, hopes and endures and never ends.  This is the love of a family in a fight and it is so damn hard.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:35

Even when you’re wrong family, I love you and will not leave.

Pascal – – 1:16

5 comments

    1. That’s a really good question. Mine has not been the struggle of leaving faith in general, but rather of leaving a particular stream of fellowship that is particularly reactionary. I attend a Baptist church and much of the strident red state noise comes from my denomination. Do I stay and influence the process, or take my ball and find a friendlier game?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s helpful. Thanks.

        My concern comes from my own experience (naturally,) also Baptist. I wondered if there was a hint in your short post that to leave is somehow less spiritual or that you are fighting the better fight than those who do leave the denomination. Even in the wording “take my ball” and “find a friendlier game” hints to me again from my own experience of the same “reactionary” rhetoric. The implication perhaps being that those who do leave weren’t up to the fight or buoyed up enough by the Holy Spirit to stay know matter how hard it is. Though I think it unlikely this is where you are coming from it still hit me that way.

        And I guess I’m also thinking that leaving does not mean the loving ends.

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        1. Aren’t you right when you suggest that we all perceive things from our own center? I’m so thankful that you asked me to clarify. I think that leaving and helping to create a safe place elsewhere can also be love. We have internet cum real life friends who have done just that.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Confession time: Since watching the very, very unfortunate Jeffress video last week, I have been wondering whether I did the right thing, just walking away, both from the church and the ministry. Why? Because it seems to me that I might be doing just as much (if not more) good using a pulpit to try and counter some of the negative, hateful rhetoric coming from other pulpits. Mind you, my beliefs are still radically different from what they were before I left, so it would require a church open to left-field views (say, Unitarian or something similar), so I don’t know how that would look.

    All this to say, I respect your decision to hang in with the congregation of which you are a part. I sincerely hope that you are able to provide some level of contemplative reflection in your role there. I would be interested to hear how that goes…

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