Let’s Talk About The “F” Word….Again

What lead a grown man to sob uncontrollably in my arms, while saying over and over I want my mommy, I want my mommy? Forgiveness. I met him in Rwanda and walked him through forgiving his mother for leaving him and his siblings in the genocide for her own safety. Years he had held on to the pain, but he was in a place where he wanted to forgive her, and try to reconcile with her as well.

I am writing about forgiveness again, because since my last post I have had more than 2 serious conversations with people about how they are holding onto unforgiveness in their life, and for some pretty serious things that have happened in the past.

Before we get there though, there is something that needs to be done. Making sure we are right with God ourselves. Because it is His grace that is lavished on us, which gives us the love that leads us to offer forgiveness to others.

It’s time to get right before God.

Is there an area of your life that you need to ask forgiveness for from you heavenly Father? Maybe you have been following Christ for years, but are carrying the weight of sin. Or maybe you have never fully committed to follow Jesus, but you want to know the joy, peace, and freedom that comes when you make the decision to follow Him. You want to experience His forgiveness. You want the peace that passes understanding, and a joy that goes beyond your circumstances.

Take some time, right now between you and God to ask for forgiveness. To tell Him you want to follow Him with all of your days. This can be hard, because we know we don’t deserve His love, but approach Him knowing that He won’t give you what we deserve, but instead offer us what we don’t deserve, but He offers so freely. Grace. Love. Forgiveness. Freedom.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. James 5:15

Offer your prayer in faith, knowing He will respond in love.

Now it’s time to recognize if there is unforgiveness in your life.

gods best life for youIs there someone in your life that you have been struggling to forgive? I am sure many of you can totally pinpoint that person, but are having a hard time letting go, and offering forgiveness. You just can’t get to that place. Maybe you don’t believe that the person deserves your forgiveness.

But maybe your time is now. This unforgiveness thing is causing bitterness to fester and grow, it effects other relationships, and you just want to be free.

In looking up different scripture on forgiving, most of them are not based on the other person, or what was done to cause the need for forgiveness in the first place. Instead this is the truth I am seeing. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Forgive, as the Lord forgave you. Forgive, and be forgiven.

Our response to “those who trespass against us” is a direct reflection of how God will respond to us in our own need for forgiveness.

We don’t have to wait to be approached with an apology. That may never happen. The person may never change, and we may never get the response we feel that we need. I have been there. And sometimes things just don’t change. However, forgiveness has less to do with our relationship with others, but more so how we are standing before God.

Are we standing before Him offering grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness to those who have wronged us? Or are we holding on to the things that He has asked us to freely give?

Are you ready?

What made a grown man sob in my arms?

Letting go of the hurt he carried for so many years, and forgiving his mother. Friends, I have never seen a grown man cry like he was. Still to this day. But those tears freely poured out, and I know they came from freedom. It was a freedom that I have felt in my own life. I remember that I cried for like a week straight when God removed the weight of sin from my shoulders. And I will tell you that I have cried a lot this week, as my hurt from 2 decades ago changed to thankfulness. Freedom my friends. It feels good.

Maybe you don’t know where to begin with this whole forgiveness thing. I didn’t either. I was literally like, I don’t even know how this thing works. I also know that the process is going to look different for everyone, and if this is completely foreign to you I may suggest meeting with a pastor of your church, or counselor.

But I will offer my experience with the man in Rwanda. I asked him to share his story with me. I asked him if he felt he needed to forgive his mother. I asked him if he was ready to do it then.

Then I asked him to pretend I was his mother, and to tell me everything he felt about her. (but maybe you can write a letter, even if you never send it. Just put your heart on the page). And then I asked him to tell her he forgave her, and pray for her.

Now is the time.

I am not sure what steps you need to take towards forgiveness. I do know that it can be painful to confront the past. But I also know that the act of forgiveness will make it feel like the chain that has made you feel like you have been in prison has been broken.

Forgive, and you will be forgiven. It is a hard truth, and a beautiful truth.

God, thank you for the forgiveness of our sins. Thank you that you have given us a grace that we don’t deserve, but a love that is lavished on us. You don’t love sparingly, but freely. Help us to recognize the areas in our lives that keep us from receiving all that you have for us. If there is someone that we need to offer forgiveness to, please bring that person to mind, and lead us to the freedom that we receive when we freely offer, what you have freely given us. In Jesus name. Amen.

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2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About The “F” Word….Again

  1. Homer Les says:

    Thank you for this Jessica. Your selfless act of identificational repentance before this man from Rwanda is a powerful tool to help others go through the process of forgiveness. It is not easy to forgive, especially when the pain is so deep rooted. When we can stand in for the person they need to forgive it goes a long way in helping them. If no one else has said it you Jessica, from one who has stood in your shoes to do the same thing, me say a heartfelt thank you. I know it was not easy for you to do that but it also shows that you have grown so much in your own forgiveness. This is a rare accomplishment these days.

    Forgiveness, at its heart, releases us far more than it does for anyone else; as you have found. The real problem is unforgiveness and how much it traps us in bondage. The other person may not even be aware that they have done anything wrong. We, however, can get tied up in such knots that it destroys everything in us. I am so glad you are showing real examples of how forgiveness frees us from that bondage.

    I would also like to point out that the feelings we feel are very important. Those trespasses left scars that need to be expressed. We cannot forgive until we have first expressed the pain. Letting the pain out first, is critical. Once we know that God, and others, recognize and acknowledge that pain, only then we can move to the next step of forgiving. Too often we try to rush forgiveness with out proper acknowledgement of the suffering we have gone through. This short-circuits the work and can actually traumatize us further.

    For example, when my family was locked out of our only shelter on a chilly day in late October the pain of betrayal stabbed our hearts. It started us on a long journey of homelessness that was very difficult. We had to face the pain, the rage, the sorrow for a long time and expressed it. After a time though we knew we needed to forgive our betrayers otherwise it would turn to bitterness in us. Our family didn’t want that so we forgave; willingly and freely. It released us from the debt. Now the emotions were still there but we could easily take them to the cross and leave them, knowing that our Lord suffered just as we did. His empathy and compassion was our comfort.

    As we are re-editing the story of what happened we came across the passage about this event. Although a few years has passed, as well as much healing, the emotion came back suddenly. As much as they say ‘time heals all wounds’ it is not true; only God does. Thankfully I was able to step back, realize that Jesus had forgiven me and I had forgiven those who hurt us and in just a few moments was able to come back to the peace and joy that is ours as we follow Him. The emotions will come back but they are not where we live, they are not bitter. The memory has been replaced by a knowledge that Jesus led us through a ‘valley of despair’ with great love. The triumph of forgiveness.

    Homer Les

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