Forgiveness is Tough – Part Two
Part one of this series was last month’s topic. If you missed it, you can find it on our web site under archived articles or click the link “Forgiveness Is Tough, Part One.”
Based on the responses that came to the office after part one of the article was published, I can see that forgiveness is a tough topic for many people. Why is forgiveness so hard to accomplish? As stated before, Satan uses all the emotions associated with lack of forgiveness to maintain a hold over you. Hurt, anger, resentment, hate, and suspicion are just a few of those emotions. “Righteous indignation” is another form of anger that can be linked to unforgiveness.
I stated last month that I would tell my story of the hardest act of forgiveness I have experienced. As a child I was frequently reminded by my stepfather’s mother that I was not her grandchild. This was manifested by her actions and, after my brother and sister came along, was reinforced at times of gift exchange such as birthdays and Christmas by lavish multiple gifts for them and a pair of socks or underwear for me. I am sure there were other things that were used to emphasize the distinction of step grandchild but those were what stuck in my mind as a child. Gradually I came to hate that person.
The tragic part of the story is that my stepfather – who was my “Dad” as far as I was concerned – loved me enough that shortly after he and Mom were married he initiated the process to formally adopt me and change my last name to Johnson. His mother never acknowledged it. So the resentment continued to build and as a teen I avoided as much contact with her as I could manage. My stepfather died of cancer at the age of forty-seven. At his funeral I told my Mom, brother and sister that with Dad gone I never had to see or talk to Dad’s mother again and that she was their problem. I never saw or spoke to her again and refused to attend her funeral. Not very adult of me I will admit. But hate (Satan) had a firm grip on me where she was concerned.
Many years later I read the book “A Child Heart” by Louis and Carol Gorden. It was both an eye-opener and a life changer for me. Within a couple of weeks I was in a church service where it seemed that the pastor’s sermon had been written just for me on the subject of forgiveness. The conviction of the Holy Spirit about this one issue in my life was such that at the end of the sermon I was on my knees at the altar asking the Lord for forgiveness for being so unforgiving of others in my life. In asking for forgiveness for my actions and thoughts toward her, I found it easy to forgive all the things she had said and done to me as a child. Even though I can’t say my forgiveness of her was instantaneous, I believe the Lord’s forgiveness for me was just that- instantaneous. Being human, I had to process it for a while. But the peace that came to my heart and soul when I could truly say I no longer harbored any hate or unforgiveness toward that person was remarkable.
Unforgiveness can be major as in my story was or it can be of a lesser degree, but it is still a sin. If you have issues in your life with unforgiveness of a spouse or other family member, please go to the Lord in prayer and ask for deliverance and for forgiveness for your thoughts and actions. Once again, I’m not supplying Bible verses for you because I want you to do your homework and find the scriptures related to forgiveness. Send me a note at the office to let me know which ones impacted you the most. I’d really like to hear from you.