Picture of Janet



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I miss my husband.

I do.

You learn that when suffering tragedies and heartbreak, you have to make a choice to either fall into the abyss. Or not.

This time around with Silent Bob, I have chosen not to as I did with my Jake.The trick is you have to a plan of implementation.

Because there are a hundred moments in a day that convince you that you are an old piece of glass that is on the brink of shattering into a million pieces.

Some of those moments are pure mental obsession.  In those instances, the devil, or evil if you prefer, can undo you.  I know from experience, obsessive thoughts that don’t produce anything but more negative thoughts, will send you down a path that can be very difficult to get off. I have two strategies for this. I either pray the thoughts away or find something to do that gets my mind into a different place. (If you think this is superstition, it really isn’t. The first is supernatural and scriptural. The second is scriptural and scientific.). Plus, I believe in drugs. Some of them are clearly God-given.

Some of those moments though, are about learning something important. Like I said, a couple of weeks ago they are about truths. Truths that make a difference going forward.

So, in a moment when it wasn’t obsessive thought driven, but grieving nonetheless in the last two weeks, God said, Janet, let’s talk about forgiveness.


Uh oh. Let me put this into context for you. When you’ve been married for 45 years, there are the big things in life that undermine a marriage. And then there are the little things that add up and make you wonder, allow a little grudge to form so you can hold onto it and then feel fair in asking yourself, do I still love this person? (I’m comfortable admitting this, because I’d bet money I am not the only one whose done this). 

So, in the missing of Silent Bob, I started wondering when had I cheated Bob of the knowledge of how much he meant to me.

And then that morphed into, “well God, what would have prevented him from knowing my love?”

And then God whispered to me, “Janet, again, think about what you know, what I have taught you about forgiveness…”

It didn’t take long for me to wander back through our marriage and consider when did Bob ask for forgiveness and when did I give it?

I mean really give it.

What things did I hold onto, for decades sometimes, that I continued to hold him accountable for? What actions did I interpret in light of what he had already asked forgiveness? When did I cheat him of some joy he could have had because of my inability to forgive AND then to forget (this is also scriptural with a distinct element of supernatural).

This is not to make Bob someone who constantly needed forgiveness.

It’s a human problem. We need forgiveness all the time and fail to forgive all the time.

I mean not counting him, how many times have I held a hurt, an assumed hurt or intentional one, and then harbored it, using it as a form of righteous justice?

And it didn’t take long before the memories switched to the times I should have requested forgiveness and didn’t offer it. Where was the justice, where was the true forgiveness I owed my husband now that I can no longer offer it? 

Where was the justice in the form of forgiveness that I should practice now and later?


Okay, so here’s where this week’s truth came in. There were clearly two things God reminded me of… or taught me again.

As it turns out, I realized that Silent Bob was better at forgiveness than I was. He was better at the forgiveness that I asked for and the times I was too stubborn to admit I needed for him to forgive me. This truth made me a bit sad and happy at the same time.

And the second aspect of God’s truth was the clarity of how forgiveness is all wrapped up in justice. And how we are consumed with the idea of justice. And how we don’t have the ability to achieve it. 

Think through this with me.

The first thing we have to agree with is that the desire for justice is somehow part of our humanity. And the second thing is that we don’t do it well. If we did, the world would be a different place. Our politics, our divisions, our inability to work together whether we be black or white or brown or gay or straight or male or female, point to a self-centeredness that defeats our desire to be just and fair and forgiving. Even today biology, chemistry, the physical things of us don’t have the answer. So that puts the answer somewhere beyond science. And this isn’t a new thought process… All of the religious leaders, actual historical individuals, Confucius, Muhammad, Buddha, Jesus, all of them were intent on figuring out how to live morally, live rightly, how to provide justice. They made rules, and philosophies, and protocols for us as humans to achieve nirvana or eutopia or heaven. 

There was somethone very different in that list though.

There is little doubt that Jesus was a real person. There isn’t much question that he died and was buried. The Christian faith resides on the truth of his resurrection. But, also very key in this story is that you have to acknowledge that of all the religious leaders, Jesus is the only one who provided a way for justice to be fully realized that had nothing to do with us and everything to do with him.  Jesus was the only one that said, “I will do it for you.”

The theology goes like this: we can’t seem to keep from doing wrong, our creator, good God,  cannot abide evil, so someone had to absolve of us the sins we can’t seem to quit doing, so we could be close to Him again. And it had to be something beyond human, something supernatural.

The sacrifice of Jesus had to be an absolutely mind boggling piece of news to the Jews and Romans. Not only was he a willing, sacrificial lamb, he was a justice warrior like no one has been or will ever be. He didn’t sacrifice himself for just his people. He did it for the tax collectors and prostitutes, the Greeks and Roman pagans, the rich and the poor. And no one has been able to assign a motive of self interest to his actions other than love for the people he was dying for. Well, and he was God incarnate.

How miraculous is it that in spite of all of our intentions and our failings, Jesus, a real man in the past, said God still loves you so much that He provided a way for you to be forgiven? I mean really forgiven. As in washed white as snow forgiven. And provided the path to justice?.

Whether you believe in Jesus as the messiah or not, you’ve got to be amazed at the sheer magnitude of that kind of generosity, that exhibition of love, that fine path to true justice, the heart of a real man who said those things to a world that didn’t want to hear him! There is a logic to it that should appeal to the best parts of you. If you are a believer, you feel like I do… grateful that Jesus’ satisfied your longing for justice and made it possible to commune with the very creator of fairness and justice. And you spend a few moments, thanking that creator for the work He’s done, in your husband who was better at it the whole forgiveness thing than you and grateful that these days, He’s given you the chance to do it better yourself, and then one fine day forgiveness won’t even be a word that we have to use. 

A high ranking political, powerful, wealthy and intelligent man from the first century penned this for all of us to read today… Can you imagine someone you know today with power and prestige, a politician, a pastor, admitting to this? “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

And you think to yourself, I won’t do it perfectly today, Father, and not tomorrow either, but thank you for putting in my heart just a bit more real what it means to forgive. How it contributes to justice. And thank you for giving me a little bit of my husband this week, who I miss. A lot.

Addendum: If you are disturbed by the whole idea of sacrifice, the necessity for shed of blood, I was too. So I had to pray about that some. What I am getting ready to say is not based on some profound understanding of theology. It’s observation. There is something about our understanding of justice that requires ‘someone pay’. You might not believe in the death penalty (which to my mind is in effect a blood payment for wrong) but if your daughter was raped, you want the rapist to pay. If you were cheated on, you want that person to get their come uppance. If you were wronged, you want justice and by definition, it comes at the expense of the person who did the wrong. We might like to think we are more civilized than our predecessors, but the payment part of wrong still sits very firmly in our desire for justice. So God, he knew us. He loved us. He gave his son to pay. Amazing really.

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for this!
    So beautifully written!
    Thank you for the reminder that Life is to short to hold onto our unforgivness, especially after my own 40 + years of marriage to my one and only. I think we must hold back our forgiveness as protection of not letting anyone hurt us to deeply that we can’t recover, so we put up those walls. Oh to Love like Jesus, a struggle we face daily. LORD help us release those those who have hurt us so we can love like you!

  2. Well Doc, I have never commented on your writings. For a reason… I’ve never wanted to influence you in anyway that would negatively influence your words of expression.

    But reading that, was beautiful in all and every way for me.

  3. First and foremost, I truly thank God that you have not fallen into the abyss with yet another tragic loss. I recall that for more than a year, you didn’t write. Then we too suffered your loss, and our loss of you and your generous gift of sharing your words.

    I admire your strength. I’m not certain that I would accept a “truth” with the grace that you do in the middle if such were my grief.

    But then that is our blessing, received from God, through you. Forgiveness is a truth we all know, but also know that we humans just can’t seem to excel at, even for our own sake.

    Then God sacrifices his son, that we might have forgiveness – pure, true forgiveness. Something we can never achieve on our own nor wrap our minds fully around. We need to be reminded.

    That being said, Silent Bob knew your heart better than anyone else for 45 years. Know doubt he knew the depth of your love AND your forgiveness.

    Love you so dear friend. You are constantly in my prayers.

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