Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fellowship of Sufferings

Early this morning, as I was driving to work, I was lost in thought about the person in my life that I need to forgive, but towards whom I am feeling less than merciful.

All I can think about is how deeply I am hurt and how frequently it has occurred. It's not fair to always have to take the high road. It's frustrating not to be treated according to the love that you have shown someone else--to be betrayed and let down by someone close to you.

As I drove through the dreary rain, grey all around me, I experienced one of those little flashes that God sometimes sends my way. A brief remembrance of the phrase the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

It hit home.

This person doesn't deserve my forgiveness. They have treated me poorly and disregarded the impact their offense has had on me. They deserve punishment, judgement, and being removed from my life. They don't even recognize the depth of pain they have caused me and how far-reaching the effects have been, and continue to be.

They have been my initiation into the fellowship of Jesus' sufferings. As He had to forgive those closest to Him, so must I. As He had to live ministering to many who would later crucify Him, so must I. As He longed for someone to stay awake with Him in his darkest hours and was left alone, so have I been left.

Convicted, insulted, beaten and crucified by those he created and loved.

My suffering has been light compared to many, but in this act of constantly forgiving those who, perhaps don't deserve it, I participate in that fellowship. I am identified with the Ultimate act of forgiveness. I practice the pattern before me.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead. --Philippians 3:10-11

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