(Note: This article can be downloaded as a PDF file here.) 001. FORGIVENESS. To Forgive
Is it possible to forgive those who hurt us? In this article and in future articles I want to share some stories to show that some people have been able to do so in quite amazing ways. They are true stories but names have been changed for reasons of privacy and confidentiality. (I am hoping the stories will finish up in written publications in the days ahead.)
A Funeral Service in Sydney
“Thank you Mum for bringing Dad back into our lives.” Twelve year old Allan spoke those words with utter sincerity. One can imagine all sorts of settings where those words might have been spoken. However it was an amazing scene I was witnessing as he spoke.
You see when Allan spoke those words he was standing at a lectern in a funeral chapel in Sydney. He had asked to say something at a Funeral service. It was the service for his mother. She had died from the ravages of a terrible cancer. As he spoke the words he was looking at the casket in which his mother lay dead. On that day I learnt a little bit more about forgiveness. I had been preaching and teaching on forgiveness for many years. Now I was seeing afresh with my own eyes the results of true forgiveness.
A Sad Story
Allan’s parents had divorced after his father Roger had walked out of the family home to begin a new relationship with another woman. Some years later his mother Robyn had come to the Healing Ministry at the Cathedral after a cancer had began to invade her body. She was full of bitterness towards her ex-husband. She was also very bitter towards his new wife Lyn. In the seminars on “Forgiveness” she learnt about the importance of forgiveness. She realised that she needed to experience the forgiveness of God for herself. She realised too that she needed to forgive Roger for deserting her and Lyn for destroying her marriage and family life. Robyn acted on the truths she heard at the seminars. What happened was amazing.
An Amazing Result
As the cancer continued to spread and she became weaker and weaker she knew she had to do something about her sons. She had by now learnt to forgive Roger. So she made contact with him to explain that she was soon to die and their sons needed their father. As her condition worsened, Roger and Lyn invited Robyn and her sons to come to live with them in their home. Much healing took place as forgiveness was asked for and received. It was Roger and Lyn who lovingly cared for Robyn for the final months of her life. Little wonder that Allan could say at that funeral service, “Thank you Mum for bringing Dad back into our lives.”
We may wonder “How could Robyn have done that, having been through such pain and rejection?” The answer is that she did what God commands us all to do, and that is to forgive all those who have hurt us. She made a choice to forgive. God gave her the grace to do so.
It may be for some of us that our rejection was not nearly as deep as that which Robyn suffered. Others may feel that their pain was much deeper than Robyn’s. But the principles of forgiveness remain the same for each of us no matter how much rejection and pain we have been through.
How About You and Me?
We all need to be forgiven by God, and hopefully others may forgive us of the hurts we caused them. We all need to forgive, and by the grace of God we can do so.
In following articles we will see more real-life examples of those who once felt that they would never be able to forgive, but who wondrously did so. Great emotional healing (and sometimes surprising physical healing) took place in their lives.
I trust that this story and the stories to follow may encourage us to believe that to forgive, is indeed possible.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER (Added in May 2016)
1). Robyn had been taught at the Healing Ministry from Matthew 18:27 that forgiveness is a choice. How did her attitude show she had made the right choices?
2). Did Robyn’s ex-husband deserve to be forgiven by her? If not, why do you think she forgave him?
3). Are there any people we need to forgive? Do they deserve our forgiveness? What helpful example for ourselves can we see in Robyn’s attitude towards her ex-husband?
4). Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The word to “forgive” here is from (charis) meaning “grace” or “unmerited favour”. God forgives us by giving us something we could never deserve. In what way is our forgiveness towards others to be seen as an act of grace towards them?
Jim Holbeck. Blog No.1. Posted 04 February 2011 (Revisited in May 2016)