Remember last year's Lent Bible study? I was just starting to overcome my anxiety disorder, and leading the meeting was a huge step for me - a triumph. A year on, the anxiety is more sporadic, and I am no longer depressed, but I was honestly not looking forward to leading the Lent meeting again last night. The negative association with last year's anxiety was itself a source of anxiety for me, so I was a little bit nervous, but I need not have been. It was a wonderful occasion, and I had chance to share my experience of reconciliation from last year's Lent course. I had to chuckle when I could see my old Methodist Sunday school teacher nodding and grinning in agreement as I shared how the Methodists had been my childhood church, how I had become arrogant in my teens and joined a "more spiritual" church, and how the last joint-Methodist-Anglican Lent class had been a time of reconciliation for me.
So after having a wonderful time amongst friends last night, the events of this morning knocked me for six. Having been stabbed in the back by my former colleagues at the local website I run, they are twisting the knife further with a very nasty-sounding letter to my other colleague making all kinds of outrageous demands and proving that they will stop at no lengths to undermine our hard work. The whole situation is most upsetting, not least because the whole basis of my work with them was simply good faith, and I believed they were friends.
At the moment I feel nothing more than contempt for the pair - this is where the ideal of forgiveness really hits the road, I suppose. I don't think I'm wondering whether to forgive so much as how to forgive - what does forgiveness mean in practical terms at the very moment that an erstwhile-friend is on your back plunging in a knife and trying his best to destroy everything you've put your heart into?