Learning To Forgive

First let me say that I do not write this as a way to make anyone feel sorry for me, or to think badly of my daddy, or to trash a man that is no longer around, I write it to encourage you to forgive any wrong that has been done to you and to let you know that God is bigger than anything that touches our lives in a negative way and that being a forgiver is a wonderful way to be.

I grew up in a home where I was sexually abused by my dad. Life for me was hard and confusing. I had a daddy that was not saved and took all his frustrations out on his children. We suffered from physical and emotional abuse of all kinds. My mother and grandparents knew of the physical and emotional abuse, but not the sexual abuse. And although they hated it, there is only so much someone can do against a larger more crafty foe.

Anyway, I struggled as you can imagine with forgiveness. I had a very hard time loving the sinner and only[hating] the sin. I knew that the Bible said I must forgive and I wanted to and I tried really hard to do just that. We as adults have that same struggle, trying to forgive seemingly unimaginable things, so imagine a child trying. I did love my daddy, but oh how I hated the things he did!

We were church goers, every time the door was open we were there. My mother was the pianist and believe it or not my daddy was the choir director. No one at that time knew anything of our home life, maybe they suspected things were not perfect, but for the most part they accepted him as he was at church. He had a voice like an angel, was funny and always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He seemed like a great man.

I accepted Jesus as my savior at 9 years old, I had heard many stories of Jesus, his love, his forgiveness; and I wanted to please him even then. After one particular sermon that centered on forgiveness the Holy Spirit kept bringing this point of forgiveness to my mind, so I knew I must do something about it. Yes, even children can hear from the Holy Spirit.

Now my grandparents were the salt of the earth, solid Christians, Jesus hands and feet on this earth. They were kind people. Their home was my refuge, time there was like heaven on earth to me. I would ask my grandmother questions all the time and she would not only answer me from the wisdom of her life but, God’s word. I asked her one day this question, “Do I have to forgive people who are mean to me, who do really bad things?”, and of course, her answer was (yes), followed by this scripture, Mathew 6:15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Even as a child I understood that wow, how would I do that!

My grandmother proceeded to tell me that I needed to get “Jesus Eyes”, in other words, I needed to ask Jesus to help me see the person who offended me the way he saw them, and in doing so it would take the sting out of the sin, and help me to pray effectively for them. She explained we were all sinners, and we all needed saving and forgiving every day. So, I did what she said. I asked for Jesus Eyes, so I could see the sin and separate it from the person, in this instance my daddy.

Psalm 51:5 says: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” God was faithful to hear and to answer. Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. I can tell you that God did that and so much

He heard my prayers, He helped me to see my daddy through “Jesus eyes” and He walked me through forgiveness. It was not fast, it at times was really painful. After all, my anger was justified, but forgive I did. Forgiveness is more for you than the other person. The kind of healing it brings is life-giving.

My grandmother told me something else to, she said that forgiveness like love was an action word. She said that even if forgiveness had not taken root in my heart I could act it out by the things I did and that God would see my effort and help the feelings to follow. She was right, I acted in forgiveness toward him much sooner than my feelings followed, but follow they did.

I am thankful that today there is no unforgiveness toward him anywhere in my heart. I am thankful that he eventually was truly born again and has been home in Heaven for many years now. And lastly, I am thankful that one day I will see him again. God did more than I could have ever imagined, but I am not surprised, after all, He is God and He is good!

I thank God for my life, it has been a gift, God has used every moment for my good and his glory! No matter what your circumstances may be, He can do the same for you, just give it to him and see what He will do!