Gracie is seven years old.  She lives with her mother and her little brother, Nicholas.  Something happened to her in the past, something that still troubles her emotions.  In fact, it doesn’t seem to be getting better.  It seems to be growing in her heart, taking over her life and making her very sad.

I’ll bet you can think of someone like Gracie.  Perhaps she is all grown up now.  Maybe it’s your mother, or your sister, or your best friend.  And it doesn’t have to be a “she.”  You may know a young man, or an old man, who can’t seem to move past a wrong that was done to them.  Maybe it was thirty years ago, or five.  Maybe it was five days ago.

The “Bad Thing” that happened may have been traumatic, horrible, unmentionable.  In any case, you have probably done all you can to encourage them to get help.  You have comforted.  You have counseled.  You have been there for them.  You have cried with them, listened to them, maybe even prayed with them.  And for a while, they seem to feel better.  But just when you heave a sigh of relief and think the darkness is over, there it is again, peeking through the tension in their face and the wariness in their eyes.

Maybe your friend can be helped by the story of Gracie – and Carissa, and Mara.  If they could, just for a minute, believe that a different kind of life is possible for them, then maybe that belief could move them off square one and toward freedom.  “Sending away an offense” is not denial.  It’s not even sending the offense away from the offender.  It’s sending it away from yourself, and that is a world of difference.