I am going to say that Samuel is and has been an Angel. Not a particularly well-behaved, cute, or cherubic child, but an Angel. And most recently he was an Angel to us yesterday and I only began to have it dawn on me today.
Linda has been very, very hurt by a friend of some duration. Hurt in a way that may make the friendship beyond repair. She was confiding this to me at length as we were driving to Sam's dance class and I was supporting her fully in her resolve when, from the back seat come, "Didn't Jesus say to bless those who persecute you and to forgive them."
In typical adult fashion I explained that while we are called to forgive, we aren't called to stick around and be abused some more. That there was a difference between forgiveness and being a glutton for punishment. He responded, "I guess so." But the tone suggested that he didn't buy the argument.
And I realized this morning, that I shouldn't buy it either. That forgiveness demanded of us, particularly in the case of long-term friends, demands that we keep at it, that we seek out love and offer love. We shouldn't stand for abuse, but that means not total withdrawal, but rather a measured response.
On the other hand, I'm not going to be the one to tell Linda. Right now, she just needs support in her feelings. She's got a good heart and she'll come around in time.