It is quiet, and I am not eavesdropping, but I can hear snatches of conversation coming from down the hall. Daniel Roberson, Brother Bryan Mission’s Intake Administrator, is talking to someone about forgiveness. His voice is deliberate, and kind and he is telling deep spiritual truths that we all need to hear. I feel like I am at an altar and not a desk, in a sanctuary and not in an office.
“You need to look at a conflict and ask what percentage you may be wrong,” Daniel says. “If you’re only 1% wrong then you need to ask forgiveness for that part.”
We know someone who went through a terrible divorce around 35 years ago. She found out her husband had been unfaithful. Deep pain was inflicted, two children suffered, and a family imploded. In an effort to hurt him for how he had hurt her, she kept something that belonged to him, something that he treasured. She kept a stuffed pheasant he had killed when he was a hunter.
The bird sat on top of her television set. As the children divided their time between two parents that they loved dearly, they would occasionally say to her, “Why don’t you give the pheasant back to Dad?” Her response, “No – it’s mine.”
For almost 35 years the answer remained the same. Then one day, about two years ago, both sons were at her home at the same time. One of them asked about the pheasant again. This time she got up from her chair, got the bird, and said, “Take it.” After all these years, with both parties now in their 80’s, she gave up the pheasant.
Forgiveness is like that. We must release the right to get revenge. It doesn’t mean that we weren’t wronged, but it does mean we give up the right to exact payment for that wrong.
Brother Bryan Mission has 75 beds filled with men who can annoy, get angry, and explosions can happen. But they are being taught by faithful, godly staff members to forgive … as Daniel put it, “To let things go.”
I hear applause coming from the cafeteria next door. There is warm food on the tables and the men are growing. And there are godly, faithful men here who work hard to teach them Biblical truths.
Sometimes altars are found where we least expect them.
Brother Bryan Mission