I can honestly say that one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was to forgive my dad for leaving me. In fact, it took me almost ten years. Ever since I was a little girl I knew that I should forgive him. After all, Jesus said to forgive seventy times seven, right? But every time I tried I just couldn’t do it. I realize now that it was because I was trying to forgive out of my own strength and not God’s.
I am still not really sure how it happened. I will always remember one day while we were driving the forty-five minute car-ride to my dad’s house and I looked over at him from my place in the passenger seat. I suddenly felt so sorry for him while God whispered to me that he is the one caught in sin, living out the consequences of the decisions he made ten years ago. I am so thankful that I have the privilege of having a close relationship with my Savior and Friend, but that is something which my dad doesn’t have. As far as I know, he has fallen away from the only One who could save him from the hole he has dug for himself. All my anger was lost in sorrow for him.
One of the hardest things you will have to do is to forgive the person who hurt you. It’s unnatural according to the world. I think one of the reasons it is hard is because when you forgive someone, you are giving up your anger and allowing sorrow to come in. Our instinct as humans is to strike back when we get hurt. Forgiveness is giving up your defenses against hurt.
Let me just make one thing clear. Forgiveness is not excusing sin as okay. After all, God very clearly tells us that our sin is wrong, but he still forgave us of it. Forgiveness is letting go of your revenge and loving the person no matter what they’ve done to you. This is what Jesus did on the cross. He said “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He of all people had the right to punish us for our sin, but instead he gave up all punishment and loved us anyway!
If God himself has forgiven my dad, how can I do any differently?