I vividly remember last December seeing the coverage on the news about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Our daughter was in kindergarten at the time, and over and over I could just so easily picture a young man walking into her school and shooting at the children and walking into her classroom and shooting her and her friends.
I thought, “I know that God calls on me to forgive even if someone were to kill my child. Wow. How I hope that I will never be tested to that degree! What could be worse than someone killing my child and having to forgive that person? Unless, maybe, they tortured my child first.”
Then God immediately spoke to me, “That is exactly what I have forgiven you for, April.”
WHAT? What was that, Lord?
“Your sin put My Son on the cross. My Son died at your hands. And He didn’t just die – He was tortured and died a slow, cruel, agonizing death. Not only that, He carried all of your sin on His sinless shoulders and paid for every one of them. And I forgave you.”
That left me speechless.
I haven’t had to forgive an offense that was this serious yet. One day, I may need to. I know that my Lord – the Author of forgiveness – can empower me to forgive anything. I trust that He will enable me to do so.
When I think about forgiveness, it helps when I look at it from Jesus’ perspective on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!” It helps me to keep in mind:
- They don’t know what they are doing. If they did, they wouldn’t do it!
It is much easier for me to forgive if I realize that the person who offended me doesn’t realize what they are doing and how much it hurts me. And Joseph’s incredible example of forgiveness in the Old Testament – when he forgave his brothers who sold him into slavery is also very helpful:
- What you meant for evil, God meant for good.
JUNE MARIE’S STORY
When I married my husband he was the associate pastor of the church we attended. Long story short over the next year and a half it was one thing after another. Our pastor passed away (he was practically my husbands dad), we had a child at a very inopportune time, we stayed broke, my husband couldn’t keep a steady job. Last year around this time he changed into a totally different person, someone I didn’t know anymore, someone I almost hated.
Little did I know that for some time he had fallen into a prescription drug addiction and was drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs behind my back. He drained all our money and we couldn’t pay the bills or buy diapers for our infant (thank God I was nursing him), and I had severe bleeding for 6 months after the birth if our child but couldn’t go to my dr cause my husband drank my paychecks away.
He had been verbally abusive and was on the verge of physical abuse when I found your blogs and started really seeking God out desperately. I almost left my husband, but I decided to trust God and decided that I would try the respect thing and try to build my husband up even though he had hurt me so bad and betrayed me.
It took about 5 months before I could really trust again when my husband started regularly attending church again. One night at revival I had gone to the altar to pray, and was caught up in a vision with Jesus. He told me specifically that if I did not trust my husband and forgive him that it would be the exact same thing as me bold face telling Jesus himself that I don’t trust Him and did not trust that he had done a work in my husband.
So I trusted God and 3 months after that, today we have the best relationship we have ever had, we attend church and hold leadership positions in the church, we talk about The Lord and have open communication with each other. God did a miraculous work in our lives, and he could only do it when I surrendered myself fully to Him and stop nagging and controlling and trying to be the Holy Spirit to my husband and let God speak!!!! Thank you for the opportunity to share my story !
I am a sexual abuse survivor & I often times struggle with submitting to the needs of my husband at his request without feeling like its a chore. I keep praying that The Lord will do a work on my heart and mind to move past the memory & feeling that has been etched in my mind. I have grown to know what true Biblical forgiveness really is and have been able to forgive my uncle for what he did even though he was found not guilty here on earth and denies what he did from when I was 4-14.
God is good ALL of the time and he will always provide us with strength to climb those mountains and walk thru those valleys. Keep reading your Bible, going to services, fellow shipping with sisters in Christ, and praying that he will continue to guide you thru the days and weeks ahead that you may be of witness to someone in need.
THE RESPECT DARE, DAY 39:
– Are you holding bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness in your heart and cherishing it against anyone? Even against God?
– How does unforgiveness hurt you and your relationships with people?
– How does unforgiveness hurt your relationship with God?
– Take a huge leap of faith and ask God to help you forgive anyone you have been holding bitterness or a grudge against.
– What are the blessings of forgiveness?