Freedom in forgiveness

Has someone ever wronged you or someone you love? Have you ever been the one to wrong someone else?

This topic may not come easily to some people. Forgiveness is not a simple thing. If it were, then no one would have a problem doing it. Forgiveness is something that needs to be done in order to move forward, finding peace and healing. Today, I am going to share a very personal time where I had to choose to forgive, not only for my own healing, but so that the person I was forgiving could find it as well.

On April 14th, 2006 one of my sisters went to spend eternity with our Heavenly Father. She left behind her parents, grandparents, two brothers and three sisters. She also left behind her 3 year old son and almost 2-year-old daughter. As I mentioned in my last blog, I grew up watching the man who was supposed to love and take care of my sister abuse her instead. She stayed with him for so many years even though he hurt her. One morning she woke up and went about her day but instead of finishing the day like she had planned, she went to heaven. The initial cause of her death was a seizure. She struggled with epilepsy for most of her life. However, too much stress on someone with epilepsy can cause more episodes. The constant abuse on her and her children caused a lot of stress on her, so I blamed her husband for her death. I thought that if he hadn’t abused them, then maybe she would not of had that episode that day and would still be here with us. I was so angry towards him and hurt because of the pain he caused my sister and the rest of my family. I never thought I would be able to forgive him.

God’s word states in Ephesians 4:31-32, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (ESV).

I was full of bitterness and anger towards my sister’s husband and I wanted nothing more then to see him pay for what he did to my sister. However, revenge is never our place. We need to hand it over to God. We need to let Him take care of us and deal with the sins other people commit. Trust me, I know it is easier said than done. It took me so many years before I finally handed it over to God and it was not an easy task.

I still remember the day I started to feel a change in myself. It was several years after my sister had passed. We were at a Burger King in Indiana visiting with my sister’s kids and he was there. We were just sitting at a table talking when I felt that tug on my heart telling me I could not throw the blame or be angry with him forever.

I did not forgive him that day. I did not want to listen to that voice inside of me. I did not think he deserved forgiveness.

But that is where I was wrong. Everyone deserves forgiveness no matter what they have done. After that day, I prayed more often and sought out God’s help. I knew I would not be able to do it without God taking every step with me through this. While doing this, God made me realize that my sister’s husband was one of His children. He may have done something evil that hurt many people, but he still deserves a second chance just like everyone else.

Matthew 6:14 states, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (ESV). I have done many things in my life that I am not proud of and that have hurt other people. However, God has forgiven me and He can do the same for him, which means I should also forgive him.

Forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to stay bitter and angry towards the people who have caused us hurt or we can choose forgiveness and live in freedom knowing that God is in control. I am happy to say I was finally able to forgive my brother-in-law. I can now live in peace and freedom and you can too.

If this is something you struggle with or are having a hard time with please send us a message. We would love to talk with you, encourage you and pray with you through this journey in your life.

Much love,
Hope

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