Additional "From Further Afield" Articles


Published: 1/8/2014 11:45:50 AM


The longer I live, the more people I meet, and the more experiences I have make me increasingly grateful for the family I had growing up.   I remember watching Sesame Street excitedly because I knew after that, Dad would be home for lunch.  I remember the way my mom would be so patient with me when I had tangles in my hair or rocks in my shoes.  I remember my dad driving me to school and all the conversations and inside jokes we had, and I remember talking to my mom nearly every day when I moved to California for university.

While I dearly value all of those things, in the last month, I realized that I have a new thing to be thankful for: forgiveness. 

There was always forgiveness in our family.  Since the time we could talk, I think, we were taught about forgiveness.  We were taught that you don’t just say, "I’m sorry,” but that those words mean, "I’ll never do it again.”  Of course, as sinful people, we knew in the back of our minds that we probably would do it again, but the act of repentance is more than just lip service.  The act of repentance is a turning away from sin and an effort, with the help of God, to walk in the way He would have us go, not in the path of sin.  Without Christ in our life, this wouldn’t be possible.  Growing up in a Christian family, our home was a home of repentance and forgiveness.  We were  taught to forgive each other as we are forgiven by Christ.  Many times, it wasn’t very easy, but we learned and strove to work together as a family in Jesus to live this way.

Today I no longer live with my parents; in fact, I live roughly 6000 miles away from them in a different country and a different culture.  While my husband and I try to practice repentance and forgiveness in our home, I realized a couple weeks ago, that maybe this is a new concept for many people.  We were hanging out with another couple, who we’ve been friends with the whole time I’ve lived here.  My husband had said something to them a long time ago, which was hurtful to them, but they didn’t tell him about it.  Then, when we were together, I said something that was also hurtful.  Neither of us did it on purpose; we would never intentionally hurt them and had no idea that our comments would strike a bad chord with them.  After a bit of calm-down time we started talking.  We didn’t get very far, though.

Although I apologized and really talked about what I was thinking and feeling and my husband did the same, nothing was given back.  They didn’t offer forgiveness or repentance.  I was really upset by this, but as I thought about it, I realized something.  Neither of them knew a forgiving family like mine, neither of them know forgiveness in Christ, so perhaps that’s why neither of them know how to repent or how to forgive.  It changed my perspective and made me realize that perhaps instead of focusing on the fact that they didn’t offer forgiveness, I should focus on the fact that they don’t know forgiveness.  The matter has now been talked through and resolved and we are still friends, so now I still have a great opportunity to show them love and to talk about the love and forgiveness in Jesus.

Er's vár a mi Istenünk,

Sarah Berta-Somogyi