Forgiveness – often so difficult to do, and yet, so incredibly necessary! Much has been written about the need to forgive, including by the Lord. He told us we are to forgive “seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22)
Unless you have experienced firsthand what unforgiveness can do in your life, you might think forgiveness isn’t all that important. Personally, I became emotionally, physically and spiritually unhealthy because of unforgiveness I chose to hold onto.
I was very wronged as a child by those in my life who were in the position to do me the most harm. I didn’t enter counseling to deal with this trauma until age 42. By then, the roots of the lie that I needed to hold onto my unforgiveness for my own protection and vindication had grown deep. As I finally faced the hurt buried deep, I became suicidal.
I now am sharing something very personal, but important in understanding how much our Lord loves us. When facing the abuse of my childhood, I was sure my husband deserved a better wife, and that my children certainly deserved a better mother. An incredible lie of the enemy for which I fell hook, line and sinker.
I had the means and finalized a plan to commit suicide a night that my husband was out of town. I was going to get our girls off to school in the morning, and then return home to take my life, as I knew my husband would be home to find me before our girls returned. I am sickened now by the reality of what almost happened.
That night I had a dream that was so life-like. I usually don’t remember my dreams, but this dream stays indelibly etched in my memory to this day. My two girls are standing at my grave and crying. Jesus has his arm around me telling me he understands how much I hurt, but asking me if I want to pass another horrible hurt onto my girls. This dream woke me up and I decided I would not take my life.
This is a difficult story for me to share in a public format. However, the rate of suicide in this county is becoming scary to say the least. It is one of Satan’s best tools to undermine who we are and what we have in Christ. God offers unconditional love and never-ending forgiveness. We do have a reason to live!
I read many books on forgiveness and attended several retreats when I realized this was a real problem in my life. I told God I didn’t want to hold onto my unforgiveness, but I just didn’t seem to be able to completely let it go. I kept picking back up what I’d already laid down at Christ’s feet.
After breaking out in hives after a painful visit, I knew God was letting me know my unforgiveness was hurting me way more than my perpetrators. I finally told God I didn’t want my unforgiveness any more in any form. I, also, told Him that He had to take this from me, as I couldn’t do it on my own.
God knew this time I meant business. The freedom in my spirit and the new blessings I received after this true forgiveness are indescribable. I not only was able to forgive in God’s power, I was able to LOVE my perpetrators. I even was able and blessed to minister to them. I know miracles exist, because I’ve experienced one!
I saw a quote the other day…
“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got.” – (R. Brault)
How many apologies did our Lord receive when he paid the full price for us all on the cross? He just said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) There never has been a better role model when it comes to forgiveness! Please trust me that Christ knew the non-negotiable importance of forgiveness in our lives.