Healing in Forgiving
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Like most families, mine is imperfect. My mom’s side of the family has had financial issues for years. Her two brothers and their families have cut ties with each other and my grandparents were left to live with my parents and I. I know that my grandparents have been deeply hurt by them and the circumstances which led them to be so helpless and vulnerable. I think that their pain and suffering led them to build walls, which caused misunderstandings and tension between my parents and my grandparents.
Recently, my parents have been urging my grandparents to reconcile with my younger uncle but they misunderstood my parents’ intention and said things and acted out of anger, which scarred me and my parents. I know that my grandparents didn’t mean everything that they said. But I know how much it hurt my mom and my dad, and it hurt me to see my parents suffer emotionally and mentally. I was mad at myself for having been so oblivious to the struggles of my parents and felt angry that this whole situation with my family was taking a toll on mine and my parents’ daily lives.
People around me told me that I had to be forgiving and to think about and look at the souls of my grandparents and my uncles instead of focusing on what they have done and said. I really tried, and I really tried to pray for a heart of love. I just couldn’t do it.
To be honest, I am still struggling to forgive, even though my grandparents have apologized. I always feel a complicated flux of emotions towards them, really. I do feel sorry for them and feel pitiful because of what they went through and of how they are trying their best right now, but I still have this bitterness inside me. And I am still slightly scared and ashamed at having shared such a personal burden, but I also realize that I cannot simply dwell in anger and bitterness.
Through this experience, God has been showing me that I need to guard my heart - to not be swayed by situations and people but to really look to Him in need and to cry out to Him. And I am so grateful that He has placed so many people in my life who have been and are praying for me and my family.
I would like to share a devotional that someone shared with me a little after the incident took place: “When you forgive someone, you are as close to God as you will ever be, because in that forgiveness you are demonstrating the very heart of God, the merciful King. If you want to understand God, if you want to draw closer to Him, then forgive someone today.”
That is exactly what I want in my relationship with God. I want to know Him more, fall even more deeply in love with Him, and I want to be drawn nearer to Him. I know that there will be more instances when I will feel dejected and angry, but I know to look to Him at such moments. I know that I must forgive because I, a sinner, have been forgiven by Him.
For Your Reflection
Forgiving is a process and healing takes time. But it all starts with a decision we make, a decision to forgive those who have hurt us and caused us pain so that healing also may take place in us. To those who feel dejected and ashamed and angry, as King David proclaimed, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24).