Today is Good Friday. For those who aren’t familiar with the Christian religion or have never understood this, it’s a big deal for those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ. Today is the day we celebrate that Jesus willingly died for our transgressions, taking the punishment we deserved on our behalf.
This past year has been hard on me. Hard on my family. Hard on my faith. As I sit in bed timing contractions, counting down the days until a 3rd little one joins our family, I can’t help but feel dark and discouraged and bitter. Much like I imagine the people who were friends with Jesus felt when they saw him die.
Here they were – this group of people. Men, women, siblings of Jesus. They had trusted him, believed in him, thought he was the one who would fix all the problems. Instead, they watched him willingly die a horrific death by suffocating on a cross.
The last nine months of my life have left me reeling a bit too, much like those first century confidantes. There have been people I have trusted, believed in, thought would help me or us with a problem. Instead, I was left disappointed. To be honest, I have been (and remain) really hurt and bitter. These were people who profess to care about me, but who know nothing of the dark depression I’ve been in. People who lived with me who never genuinely asked how I was doing. People who I called friends who have let me down and left me bitter. I haven’t moved past it. I haven’t gotten over it. I’m still in a place of deep hurt and resentment, and though I’ve been counseled to forgive, I’m not there yet.
But this Good Friday, I remember the past. I remember how 8 Good Fridays ago, I was sexually harassed and forgave the man without him ever uttering an apology. I remember it because I offered the forgiveness I believed Jesus extended to all of us on Black Friday 2,000+ years ago. Though we didn’t ask, though his friends didn’t repent, he still offered forgiveness.
We can call it Good Friday because of what is coming. Easter Sunday isn’t just a day for sugaring up our kids and hoarding our Reese Eggs (although you better believe I’ll be hoarding!), for filling baskets with cute stuffed bunnies or dressing up in new dresses. It’s a day we remember that Jesus made all things new. On Sunday, we will celebrate that Friday didn’t have the final say. Spoiler alert: Jesus didn’t stay dead. He conquered death, and in so doing, freed me from the things that make me feel like I have a dead heart.
This week my heart has felt very dead. The depression has hit hard again, the self-loathing is real. The anger and resentment and bitterness have flared up. I have tried to shut it all down in an attempt to numb myself. So tonight, I am thankful that Jesus offered forgiveness for my angry and bitter heart. I’m thankful that grace is abundant, and my shitty attitude doesn’t have the final say. I’m thankful I know that Sunday is coming, that there is redemption for my heart, even at its ugliest. I’m thankful for the fact that though I have been hurt and let down by people in the last year, that Jesus hasn’t let me down. I may not understand much of what he has done. I may not see any of what he is doing. But tonight, I can truly call it Good Friday because he is a good father who cares for me so well.