There’s one thing we have all received from The Great Lockdown -- time. In the “old normal” we were always on the move, going to work, school, church, meetings etc. and this gave us the opportunity to be a little more distracted, a little more out of touch with our thoughts and emotions. However, now, we can spend more time with friends or family (even virtually), start projects, have longer, deeper conversations, or simply just have more time to think. All of these things could be great… or terrible. 

My family and I have been on a lot of group video calls to stay in touch and keep each other company, as we’re all in different parts of the world. This may seem like a pretty normal thing to do, but for us it’s a little more special. My parents separated when I was about 9 years old, and it was not an amicable separation, if you know what I mean. So to have both my parents and my brother on video calls multiple times a week is a huge blessing that I had not previously experienced. It has felt euphoric -- so many laughs, so many jokes, so many prayers. And then this week, it seemed like all the good vibes we’d built over these last six weeks suddenly came crashing down. 

Our usual trips down memory lane often include funny things that happened in my childhood, but this week, we had to dig up some very unpleasant things. Memories of disappointment, hurt, anger, and even abuse. Those are never easy conversations to have, and as you may imagine, there was a bit of yelling. Still it was a beautiful moment. I realized that even though we all still have memories of how we’ve been hurt, we truly have moved on from the numerous years of pain. The ways in which we had hurt each other did not affect how we love each other. There is no resentment, even though I’m sure some of us would appreciate it if we had some more closure.

The conversation ended with a sentence -- something like this: “Even though you did all those things, it doesn’t make us love you any less. That’s what family is about. That’s what unconditional love means. Loving people fully regardless of what they may have done.” And that reminded me so much of God. Is this not the way that our Heavenly Father loves us? We may have committed the worst sins, but as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins from us (Psalm 103:12). This means that when God looks at you, He doesn’t see your sins. He just sees His beautiful child that He loves so dearly… enough to give His life for.

Have you been able to look at people who have deeply hurt you the same way? When you think about them or see them or talk to them, do you see the horrible things they did? Or have you been able to remove their transgressions from them, casting them afar off, so that you just see a human being you love? That is grace for the gruesome. Grace for the wrongdoings that left scars that may never fade. Grace for the people who never did, never do, and never will apologize. Grace for your abusers, grace for the murderers, grace for the ones who tore your life apart… grace for the gruesome. 

It’s not easy, and it may take time, but it is possible… trust me, I know. We have the blood of the God of all grace running through our veins, so we are capable of extending grace to the people in our lives who deserve it the least. I don’t have a formula or a step-by-step guide on how you can get to that point. All I know is Jesus -- the One who is with you in the hurt, with you on the journey to let go of the pain, and also waiting for you at the destination of grace to welcome you to your newfound freedom. Because deciding to let it go; deciding you no longer need an apology; deciding to love someone despite what they did really is freedom. You may never forget it, but you can be free from the evil it intended for you. You can be free from a bitter heart. You can be free from a damaged soul. And I pray that you experience that soon, in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Have a lovely week!
Zarina Bentum.


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