“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ forgave us.” Ephesians 4:32
I want to share a little background. My mom was an alcoholic and I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. I was the oldest of 3 children and it was made known all through my life that I was an annoyance and inconvenience to her. As I got older her only words to me were that of “I wasn’t good enough or lovable or couldn’t do anything right.” I moved out as soon as I turned 18. Several years later when Lee and I got married, we both came to know the Lord. I knew this unforgiveness of my mom was not what God wanted for me, but I could not come to grips with the anger I felt toward my mom.
My walk with the Lord was getting stronger and He was growing me, as I stepped out of my comfort zone in obedience to Him. But I still had this unforgiveness toward my mom hanging over my head. About 5 years ago, I was so sick and tired of this cycle I was in and wanted so desperately to be free of my feelings of unforgiveness. I got on my knees and prayed for God to take away every bad memory I had and soften my heart to accept my mom for who she was. For me, it happened at once. I do know this is often times not the norm, it can be a process. I no longer looked at her in the same way and did not have memories of the accounts of wrong doings she had committed against me. I had a list of all the hurts and could recite them in a moment’s notice, but I cannot recall that list even to this day. I felt a huge weight was lifted.
We never had a close relationship, but the last 5 years of her life was comfortable when we were together. I am thankful for God’s grace to me and allowing me to see my mom through His eyes. The freedom to allow myself to know and believe who I am in Christ, and not the words my mom spoke to me, was is like a breath of fresh air.
What God taught me in the years following is that forgiving others is a critical part to our spiritual walk. Harboring unforgiveness is like saying come on in Satan wreak havoc in my life. But I know even after we forgive, sometimes the wound itself may continue to need more healing in some cases.
For me, something I sometimes struggle with is distinguishing between what is my part, and what is God’s part. I have found that forgiveness isn’t about having more faith. It is about obedience. Forgiveness is our responsibility and choice, not God’s. We need to choose to forgive. Why- because God forgave us, and He tells us to do so. Just take a moment and think about the things God has forgiven you for in your lifetime. Another difficulty I sometimes have is the disconnect between my head and my heart. I know the truths of what the Bible says, but sometimes I do not act on them or live them out. We must immerse ourselves in His word, it will cause a heart change.
Honestly until we forgive, we remain in the enemy’s grip. We must forgive for our own freedom. If we do what God asks of us, He will do what we cannot do on our own - change our heart. Corrie ten Boom said, “Forgiveness is the key which unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of bitterness”. Brothers and sisters in Christ, forgiveness is not easy, but unforgiveness is a life in chains.
Father, continue to instill in us the desire to be in your word and live it out. Help us to have your heart of forgiveness, not particularly for our transgressors, but for our transformation. You alone are our peace!! May we be more and more like you each day! In Jesus precious name. Amen