It was the last day of a nine-week Bible Study. I saw her slip in late---sit back away from the other ladies in the class. A few minutes pass and the friend who invited her to come and join us sat down beside her.
She was introduced to us weeks ago as being shy. She had lived here in our community for a year and was still adjusting. Her smile was cautious, her countenance beautiful. In a room of pale skinned ladies, this African beauty could not easily be missed.
I was hoping we could make her feel at home when she was so very far from home.
She spoke not a word for all the weeks until Tuesday.
The discussion surrounded the parable of the prodigal son and how we have all squandered something---money, relationships, and spiritual blessings.
I confessed: I have squandered forgiveness. I haven’t taken it seriously enough. After all that Jesus did for me to forgive my sins, to give me life, I barely make an attempt at forgiveness until I have rolled around in unforgiveness like a prodigal working in a pig pen.
An unexpected hand rose from the back to join the conversation--- a beautiful dark hand with a white palm. Josephine asked, “How?” How could she forgive those who hurt and insult her, even as every day she tries to be good and nice? Kind. Her English is thick with her African accent.
So many unexpected tears from the shy one washed over her beautiful face.
We gathered and laid our pale hands upon this one we barely knew. We pray she can forgive. That the pain will stop. That she will find a home here an ocean and more away from her African home.