After I became a Christian in 1996, I grew hungry for three things: my Bible, church, and Christian media. I had grown up listening to the world’s view of life, and it rarely mentioned forgiveness. However, the word kept surfacing over and over again as I studied Christianity. But I wasn’t angry with anyone—or was I?
My parents had divorced when I was one year old. I do not remember questioning why or even caring that they had divorced at all. It was easy to accept the facts since they had been divorced for as long as I could remember. However, the Lord gently revealed to me that in my heart I was angry with my dad for not being a part of our household as I grew up. In my inner being, I felt abandoned and failed to have my needs met. The Lord assured me He would fill those needs.
After that I was able to confess my anger towards my dad and even explain why I felt this anger for him, but forgiveness was as elusive as ever. It has never been a part of my nature to tune into feelings. I had always relied on my brain and eyes to tell me how to accomplish things in the past. Accomplishing “forgiveness” seemed an enigmatic mystery. After wondering for some time, the Lord led me to simply say aloud I had forgiven my father.
So I said it, but I felt no different afterwards. I appealed to the Lord, and He told me to repeat it over and over again. The Lord caused me to remember all of the times my dad had let me down and was not the perfect dad. Each time he let these issues rise up in me, I responded, “I forgive my dad.”
At last, I felt victory in the area of forgiveness towards my dad! The Lord presented an opportunity for me to take a huge leap of faith and move from Atlanta to Saint Louis (where my dad lived). Our relationship was reborn. I met my husband, and my dad walked me down the aisle. I gave birth to my daughter, and her first steps were walking toward my dad on her first birthday.
Then one day, I received a frantic phone message from my stepmother saying she thought my dad was having a heart attack and that I should come to the hospital as soon as possible. I rushed to the emergency room to see him. As I entered, I saw all of my dad’s brothers, sisters, and family lined up against the hospital wall. No one answered when I asked how he was doing. Finally, my aunt told me he had just passed away as she embraced me.
The doctors allowed me to enter my dad’s room. His body was lifeless and pale. A priest commenced a final prayer. I grabbed my dad’s hand and noticed his body still felt warm. It was as the priest committed his soul to heaven that his hand turned cold—as if his soul was being literally released into heaven according to his words.
It has been over ten years since my dad died, but the Lord showed me that I have been carrying grudge. This time it was not towards my dad. It was towards everyone who had tried to save his life but failed. My anger was targeted at the emergency medical technicians, doctors, and hospital staff. Our Lord told me it was time to let go of that anger and un-forgiveness.
Seconds later, I was confessing my anger to the Lord. I told him how much it hurt. I told Him how I felt. Then, I envisioned myself laying down that anger and let go of it by opening my hand. I trusted God with my feelings and prayed a blessing over the entire hospital staff.
By forgiving things the deep things in my soul, a weight was lifted from me. The act of forgiveness seemed so difficult at one time, but I have come to understand how important it is and how to do it. I set myself free to have a closer relationship to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God’s Holy Word mentions “forgive” 121 times. That tells me forgiveness is important to God and should be a priority in any Christian’s life. The Bible reminds us to award forgiveness to our brothers and sisters without growing weary of it. Mark 11:25 states, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Who do you need to forgive today?
Kim Bond writes Christian short stories featuring humor and honest commentary about society. Her writing appears in over thirty publications—both online and in print. She recently released The Footstool: A Christian Short Story Collection. Connect with Kim Bond by visiting her at her website: www.kimbond.webs.com