The Gift of Forgiveness
I was at a loss as to why a planning meeting about a coming celebration turned sour. As I listened to the angry words from the woman, I thought something else unleashed her hurt, anger. The tenor of the discussion was unrelated to her outburst. It was obvious that she was angry and bitter. Whatever her issues were I knew a little about how irrational inner turmoil and bitterness could exact itself. I, too, was a victim as a young woman.
My mother, a single parent, carried bitterness and hurt far too long after her parents divorced. As a daddy’s girl she did not accept the loss of her beloved father and never forgave her mother for the dissolution of the marriage. She was very hurt and hurt people!
Through my impressionable adolescent years I was expected, as the oldest and only girl, to behave as an adult. I had a long list of household duties, even the primary care of my younger siblings. My childhood quickly flew away. In the absence of a nurturing mother-daughter relationship, anger and bitterness and resentment settled in my heart. They were uninvited guests and my enemies.
Needless to say, I needed to be free before these enemies destroyed me and my precious family. I was confronted by the message of forgiveness — the ability to give up resentment for the sorrow, suffering, and trouble from the hands of another without retribution.
I knew what must be done.
Through tears I wrote a tribute to my mother honoring her for being courageous enough to keep her children. I applauded her for the labor it took to leave the welfare rolls and work for us. It was a huge relief to give her the gift of forgiveness without blame. It was sweet to have my anger and bitterness dethroned in my life. It felt as though some weight was lifted off my heart. I could breathe! My confession and behavorial changes in my life were evident to all. I was on the road to inner peace and joy.
The process of forgiveness is long and tough. Yet it starts with a few heartfelt words, “I forgive you.”