My sophomore year of college, I really began to see the value of Christian community is its messiness. There's something about looking another brother or sister in Christ in the eyes and asking for forgiveness and having them say, you are forgiven. It brings a whole new level of friendship to the table and creates space for authenticity to settle in.
I flew into Grand Rapids after Christmas break in 2008, and on the car ride, my phone notified me I hadn't read the verse of the day. So I pulled out my Bible and read this verse to all the girls in the car:
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." (Colossians 3:12-15)
We all "hmm-ed" and "awww-ed" and after a couple minutes, went back to our prior conversation (about
boys our vacations). It wasn't until a couple years later that this verse came back around to really sink into my heart and soul.
As I remembered that car ride of 2008, I was a bit bummed about the opportunity I missed that night. In that car was a girl I'd hurt; not intentionally but it didn't matter at that point. Hurt was hurt. Offense was offense.
I was too afraid to ask her forgiveness. I was too afraid to bring back up, a conversation we'd both let scab over. And you know what? We never fully recovered. We might exchange Christmas cards and casual Facebook talk, but the relationship was never really re-harmonized.
Now, 3 years later, even as I'm writing this, I think it might be time.
It's never too late to say you're sorry. It's never too late to ask for forgiveness. It's never too late to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.
Our communities need it.