Back to School

Pause

Am I welcome here?
Am I safe to sing or laugh or shed a tear?
Will I be loved the way I am? Will friends be near?
Am I welcome here? Am I welcome here?

You are welcome here.
You are safe to sing or laugh or shed a tear.
We love you just the way you are, so have no fear.
You are welcome here. You are welcome here.

from “You Are Welcome Here” by Mark Burrows (2017)

Listen

Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Think

It is hard to forgive people. We do not want to do it. We have been hurt. The other person is wrong. Why should we?

God would like us to forgive and be kind to others. This is true. It is a good reason. But the most compelling reason to forgive others is that it is an act of kindness to ourselves.

When I do not forgive, I am not my best self. As I hold on to my unforgiveness, I become a less kind and loving person. And I am so wrapped up in being right that I do not realize it. Once when I struggled to forgive, someone asked me, "Do you want to be right or in right relationship?"

There is likely someone you could forgive today. If not today, soon enough. So do you want to be right? Or do you want to be in right relationship with God, yourself, and that other person?

Patrick Kangrga

Pray

God, forgive me when I cannot forgive.

Let me let go of the need to be right.

Give me the wisdom to know that forgiveness is an act of kindness towards others and myself.

Call me back to right relationship with you, myself, and others.

Amen.

Go

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend

from “For Good” in Wicked by Stephen Schwartz (2003)