Love your neighbor

By Dave Henning / September 1, 2013

John Ortberg concludes Chapter 7 of Who is This Man? by revisiting and expanding on a story that introduced the chapter.  In the beginning of the chapter, Pastor Ortberg was about to interview Mary and Oshea, who were next door neighbors, on the topic of forgiveness.  The only other information we were privy to was that Mary’s only son had been killed by Oshea at a party in 1993.

Following her son’s death, Mary tried saying all the right things.  While she said that she had forgiven Oshea, it soon became clear to her that she had not truly forgiven, that bitterness and resentment were eating at her.  A pivotal moment came when Mary read a poem called “The Two Women”, where Jesus’ mother and the mother of Judas Iscariot meet in heaven and console each other.  Mary then realized that God was calling her to help mothers of murdered children and mothers of murderers to come together and heal.

In 2005, Mary decided to meet Oshea through a restorative justice program.  Although Oshea initially refused to meet, 9 months later he agreed.  During their first conversation they simply started with getting to know each other.  Hours later, Oshea asked Mary if he could give her a hug.  Mary accepted, and the floodgates burst.  Mary began to understand Oshea’s side of the argument, and Oshea began to see how he had robbed her of her son’s companionship.  When he got out of prison in December of 2009, Mary not only through Oshea a party, she invited him to move into the apartment next door to her!

Today’s question: If you have reached the point of being able to forgive those on “the other side” of your vocation loss, how has that changed your heart?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Longing for the kingdom of God”

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Dave Henning

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