Hating my father hurt. I had stomach-aches that doubled me over at times.
But I tried to hide the pain. Mom shouldn’t have to worry about me, on top
of everything else.
My dad left us and moved in with another woman. Mom said to forgive him,
but I won’t. I can’t. I could hear Mom cry at night, and the anger I felt
with each of her sobs grew inside of me. But gradually, Mom started to cry
less. She started living normally. She even seemed happy!
How can you be happy? I asked. Why aren’t you angry?
Mom took a deep breath. I still feel angry sometimeslots of timesbut God
helps me. She brought out her Bible. Yellow sticky notes poked from
between crumpled, worn pages. God’s Words comfort me. He lets me know I’m
loved and cherished, and that He will never leave me. And as I’m honest
with Him, His love softens my heart so I can forgive, as He does.
Well, I can’t forgive.
Mom nodded. None of us can, not without the help of the Holy Spirit.
For weeks my stomach continued to hurt. One night I wandered into the
living room and turned on a light. I saw Mom’s Bible. When I picked it up,
the pages opened to one of her sticky notes. Luke 23:34: Jesus said,
Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.’
Jesus said this about the people who crucified Him. He forgave those who
whipped His back to shreds, pounded nails into His hands and feet, and let
Him hang until He died. If Jesus could forgive them…could He forgive my
dad? Could I? }God, I can’t forgive! Help me!” As I prayed those words, a
calmness covered me. And, for just a moment, forgiving my dad felt a bit
less impossible. Bonnie Carr
Have you ever felt like the character in this fictional story? True
forgiveness is only possible through Jesus. He paid the price for all our
sins by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. Since we’ve received
Jesus’s forgiveness, we can forgive others. This doesn’t mean it will be
easy, or that our anger will go away completely,
but the Holy Spirit empowers us to turn to God in our hurt and respond to
others with His love. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean we need to have close
relationship with themin fact, loving this person might include setting up
healthy boundaries. Who are trusted Christians you can talk to about what
forgiveness might look like in your situation?
How can pondering the price Jesus paid to forgive you help you extend
forgiveness to others?
Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Colossians
Luke 23:18-Luke 23:34; Colossians 3:12-Colossians 3:13