One of the best duos to ever play together, suit up on opposite teams in Oklahoma City Saturday night. Although emerging in the NBA side by side, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have now gone their separate ways.

After spending nine years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant made the decision last summer to leave and join the Golden State Warriors, a Western Conference rival. With their deep playoff runs and a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals, the duo once had big dreams of becoming NBA champions with the Thunder.

But the plan changed when Durant sent Westbrook a text (instead of calling) to let him know he was heading to Golden State. As a result, Westbrook was hurt and angry because of Durant’s ultimate decision and the way the situation went down. Their relationship as former teammates and friends took a major hit and they are no longer speaking.

Saturday’s game is intensified with Durant wearing the visiting team’s jersey for the first time in the Oklahoma City arena (where their fans cheered him on for so many years)…and the tension between two superstars/former teammates being closely monitored.

The media is embracing the drama, and Durant is placing some blame on them for building up the feud, but either way, he and Westbrook have a strained relationship at this point.

Most of us understand that Durant made a sports decision, but unfortunately there was also a personal side that led to Westbrook feeling betrayed, disappointed, and resentful.

Similar feelings can take place in our own lives when a colleague leaves our company, or neighbors leave our subdivision, or our roommates transfer colleges, or friends change churches. These feelings of being left behind can lead to every emotion Westbrook experienced when Durant made his decision to leave OKC.

Even more difficult than feeling left behind, are relational situations where pain runs much deeper and hard feelings set in. But when others do what seems impossible to move on from, as followers of Jesus we must embrace forgiveness as the proper response.

We receive an infinite amount of grace from God and are called to give that same grace to others. Although difficult, with God’s strength and power we can experience forgiveness that completely restores broken relationships.

When letting go of our grudges and resentment, and truly forgiving those who hurt us, we must remember God’s grace through Jesus and live out the words in Mark 11:25 (NLT):

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, I pray that I would be filled with a grace-filled heart that allows me to forgive others who hurt me. I pray I would let go of the grudges I’ve held onto and experience freedom and restoration. Thank you for the grace and forgiveness You’ve shown me through Jesus. I pray this in His name, Amen.”