Reflection by The Rev. Jan Kwiatkowski
Facebook and other social media platforms have such an amazing capacity to keep people connected who otherwise would be disconnected. Whether it’s choosing to share family pictures, cute kitten videos, humor, information or inspiration, or even planning events, social media has tremendous power to connect. I’ve also seen, and maybe you have too, the potential social media has to empower people to objectify, distance, and disconnect. It is evidenced in the immediate aftermath of a disagreement when one person “unfriends” or “blocks” a family member or friend. Whether it’s a momentary reaction or a more permanent choice, blocking or being blocked is a powerful rejection of a relationship and our human capacity to heal and forgive.
In the Maundy Thursday Gospel, we have the familiar and beautifully intimate story of the Last Supper and Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Jesus knew that one of his disciples would betray him to those who would crucify him. Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times. Jesus knew that those whom he loved most in this world would abandon and hurt him most deeply. And yet, Jesus showed up for the Passover meal.
Jesus could have made any number of other choices. He could have chosen to “block” himself from his disciples and the hurt that was to come. Jesus instead chose relationship and willingness. He could have unfriended his beloved friends and not shown up to dinner. But he was willing to break bread with the people who would hurt him the most. He, as Master and teacher, was willing to take the servant position and wash the feet of those who would hurt and betray him. Jesus didn’t have to do any of this … except that this is what love looks like. And Jesus was willing to risk the power of love.
We are human. We have been hurt, and we have caused hurt. It is a painful and challenging part of our human experience. While we cannot escape the hurt, we do have a choice about what to do with it. In the story of the washing of the disciples’ feet, Jesus modeled for us a significant first step in loving and forgiving, that of “being willing.”
Forgiveness, especially when we have been deeply hurt by those we love the most, is a process. Sometimes, it can be a long process. And that is okay. In order to fully forgive, we have to fully acknowledge the depth of the hurt, and that can take time. There can be very good, protective, and holy reasons for letting go of the hurt in a slow, reflective process. The important thing is showing up and being willing to engage and work with whatever the process of forgiveness is, in our own lives. The important thing is not actively “blocking” the possibility of forgiveness.
When we have been deeply hurt, sometimes the most honest prayer is: “Help me be willing to show up and work the process of forgiveness that is ahead of me.” A first step in dying to self and rising to newlife can be humbly and humanly acknowledging that we need to ask for help to be willing to do what love requires us to do. Active willingness is a good and holy thing.
Making it Personal: Is there someone or some situation in your life that you hope, one day, to forgive? How might you pray about your hurt and being willing to forgive? Is there a person or situation in your life that you hope, one day, will be willing to forgive you? How might you pray about this today?
Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.