Sunday, March 06, 2005


A betrayal beyond deep, a forgiveness beyond great

I want to share a passage from the book “The Story We Find Ourselves In” by Brian McLaren:

“…..For several seconds, Neo continued looking down into the water, breathing slowly, brow furrowed, lips pursed. Then he continued, first looking at each of us, then staring down at the fraying bandage on his forearm as he talked. There were just two sounds: his deep, slow voice and the water lapping against the boat: ‘When I was married, my wife – my ex-wife – had an affair, more than one actually. It was… was beyond words……devastating. I was a pastor, a good husband, I think. I’ll never forget….

‘Unless you’ve experienced it, you never know how physical betrayal feels……You trust someone, you think you know them, and then you find out, you find out you’ve been fooled, used, taken for granted, taken advantage of. You feel cheap, and violated.’

Now Kerry interrupted…..’Yes, I know, Neo. Your whole world goes empty, your stomach burns and your legs feel numb, your neck feels cold and your lungs feel like you’re breathing some poisonous gas and your brain is like one big fire alarm buzzing so loud you can hear it in your body. It’s exactly as you said: betrayal is something you feel in your whole body.’

Neo took a deep breath and resumed his story. ‘Anyway, we got counselling, and we talked, and she said she was sorry. She said all the right things. And I loved her, and I made solemn vows to her. I really believed in marriage vows and I still do. So I forgave her. And that was one of, no, that was the hardest thing I ever had to do.

‘I don’t know how to make that into a theory, but ever since that day, when I think of the Cross, I think it’s all about God’s agony being visible – you know, the pain of forgiving, the pain of absorbing the betrayal and forgoing any revenge, of risking that your heart will be hurt again, for the sake of love, at the very worst moment, when the beloved has been least worthy of forgiveness, but stands most in need of it. It’s not just words; it has to be embodied, and nails and thorns and sweat and tears and blood strike me as the only true language of betrayal and forgiveness.’”

*****Commentary withdrawn for revisions. I will re-post.***************