Forgiveness Builds the Future - Part 1

A WOUNDED FRIEND

by Sam Ashoo

During this week of Lent, I write to give you a story. It is a true story of a personal friend, wounded.  I am not writing to teach you God’s word, but to share a moment of difficulty that continues to follow me.  I will unfold the story in separate blog posts throughout the week. 

Not long ago, a close friend was wounded. Not the kind of wound that can be attributed to the brokenness of creation. This is the story of a wounding that occurred at the hands of another; the kind of wound that leaves no outward marks or scars, but that cuts deep within. I will not speak of the acts my friend suffered in this blog. It is not my story to tell. This story begins in that unexpected moment when he sat with me, and moves forward, through a walk with him and with our Lord. 

We talked and he shared the occurrences. There were several, and all were similar. Each was a moment of severe discomfort, as I listened in disbelief. I closed my eyes and shook my head as I heard the words. I heard the quivering in his voice as he spoke. I heard the pauses, and I felt the pain. His suffering was palpable, and I was moved to tears. I opened my eyes to see his tears. A friend I had known for years, broken. His posture bent, his breathing shallow, and his entire being defeated. I had no words. Such great sadness, and suffering.

As he continued to speak, I felt my emotions change. My eyes not yet dry, I felt denial. It began as a slow rebellion against what I was hearing. My mind was fighting back. This can’t be the case, this is not true, this is a misunderstanding, this is… something else… anything else. But nothing changed. He continued to speak, and I remained speechless. What I was hearing was true, and utterly painful. It was even more so for my friend who had not only suffered the wounds, but then experienced shame and now was revealing all of it to me; reliving each painful moment in order to make me understand what had occurred. 

Once again my emotions changed. Anger. This one was more intense. I thought of the person who committed the actions against my friend. I thought of the moments described. I could see them unfolding in my mind as though I was present. I felt a need to defend a trusted friend, to intervene physically and stop what was going on. I could see each and every moment in my mind, but there was nothing I could do. He continued talking, and I grew more angry. The anger became what I could feel the most, where I could sit and feel comfortable. I began to speak, but no words came out. So I waited. But the anger did not pass.