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Who Bears ‘The Onus of Forgiveness’?

In Delia Owens best-selling book, Where the Crawdads Sing, readers are introduced to a young girl named Kya, living in Barkley Cove, NC. Known to locals as "Marsh Girl,” she had lived a hard, lonely life, abandoned and forgotten by virtually everybody. As her story unfolds, one of those characters return to the marshes of North Carolina. Tate was her first love and had become the only family she knew. He had left the swamp for success elsewhere, promising to return for her. But Tate never returned, and he never wrote to explain why.

One night Tate came up to her front door. Kya is enraged at the sight of him as he attempts to apologize:

Kya, leaving you was not only wrong, it was the worst thing I have done or ever will do in my life. I have regretted it for years and will always regret it. I think of you every day. For the rest of my life, I’ll be sorry I left you. I truly thought that you wouldn’t be able to leave the marsh and live in the other world, so I didn’t see how we could stay together. But that was wrong.

Finishing his plea, Tate watched her until she asked, “What do you want now, Tate?”

He responded, “If only you could, some way, forgive me.”

As Kya looked at her toes, she thought to herself "Why should the injured, the still bleeding, bear the onus of forgiveness?”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Kya asked a good question. One with which we should wrestle when thinking about the work of Christ on the Cross.


Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2018), p. 198

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