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A familiar and true story


The Rev’d Canon Bruce Boase reflects upon forgiveness lessons learnt, as part of this month’s #AprilAngel campaign

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Many years ago, when we were first married, my wife and I lived a life of bliss. So we thought. Well of course it was. We were new to this marriage thing, but it did not seem hard. We both recognised that we had to learn a few things about each other, but we could do that – not a problem. We lived in bliss. Of course the ‘learning about each other’ turned out to be a little more complicated than we both thought. I had certain ways that, for whatever reason, had become a part of my behaviour. Little things like whether or not to fold clothes and what to do about toilet seat – that sort of thing. My wife had different views about these things and many other things. We were learning.

One day, naturally, the learning process turned into a big argument. As is mostly the case, during the course of this argument things got heated and some things were said that firstly, were not true, secondly, ought never have been said and thirdly, were definitely not helpful to either cause. The outcome was that I left for work with tension in the air still very thick.

I worked with a person who was a very good friend. I unloaded onto him all of my woes and cares about my relationship with my wife. To his credit, my friend did not take sides. He was an older man and in my eyes, full of wisdom. My friend thought for a while and then offered this ‘solution’. He said to me, “You could go to the florist and get a bunch of flowers and turn up at home and give them to your wife and beg for forgiveness. You will be welcomed and all will be forgiven. Trust me.”

Here was a messenger, or at least someone trying to train a messenger, to be a bringer of forgiveness. Here was someone in whom I trusted giving me a way out. I did not try his suggestion, mainly because I could not afford flowers, and I told him this. He then said, “Well, you could just say I’m sorry and then seek a hug. This may not be comfortable, but it does achieve what you both want. It would be welcomed by your wife, I’m sure.”

Of course it worked. Forgiveness was immediately forthcoming from both of us. We were both welcomed into each other’s arms again. We have been married now for forty five years.

In Jesus’ parable about the Prodigal Son, the truth had to be faced. There was no other way. The embrace from the Father was all the welcome the Son needed. The embrace from the Father was there before anything else.

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