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I received in my inbox this open letter from an anonymous reader.  I know that many men and women both have felt this pain, and have sought peace in the storm.  Today, in honor of Peace Day, I bring you this:

Dear Woman,

This is hard. I don’t like you. I don’t even know your name, but I don’t like you. I don’t like a woman who knows a man is married and chooses to say and show him things that only his wife should say or show. I don’t like the kind of woman who would do things that could destroy a marriage. I don’t like what you did. I hate it.

And yet I wonder if we knew each other, if I would like you. I wonder if we knew each other, if I would see why my husband found you alluring. I wonder, if I knew you, if you would have known how much your actions would hurt me and if you would have refrained from making the choices you did. And now, imagining who you might be, I wonder if you were lonely and hurting and needed attention and kindness and affection. And I wonder if you were so hungry for something to make you feel good that you were willing to accept the flirtations of a married man, a man you knew to have a wife and children at home that he needed to attend to.

And yet, even as my heart is breaking, my heart hurts for you. My soul wonders that if we had known each other under different circumstances, would I encourage you and pray for you? And I know the answer is yes. So there is my dilemma. Hate you or hurt for you? And in the end, since we don’t really know each other, the choice really only affects me doesn’t it? So which do I choose?

I am choosing to forgive you. I choose to see you as a hurting woman and not as a woman who caused hurt. I choose to extend the grace that I’ve felt in my own life so many times. I choose to forgive your trespasses against me.

And I choose to pray for you. So God, surround this woman with your grace. Holy Spirit, convict her of her sin and lead her to seek forgiveness. Help her see that she is loved beyond measure and that no man can give her what you can God. Where she hurts, comfort her. Where she is lonely, fill her. Where she is broken, heal her. And where she is feeling less than, show her that she is worthy in you. Cover her in dignity and when the time is right God, help her tell her story so that others may see Your goodness and glory and grace. Thank you God for loving us both. Through the power of the cross, Amen.

Thank you for sharing your story, dear reader, and I pray peace upon you and your family.  In your mercy, Lord.