I often draw my inspiration through real life experiences. After all, experiencing life is how we learn. Right? I know that our Heavenly Father put us in families so that we can learn some of life’s greatest lessons. Families have the potential to hurt you beyond your wildest imaginations. Families also bring us the greatest joys. And somewhere in the middle of all that hurt and joy, are the real lessons to be learned. The lessons that we learn in families define who we are, and who we will become. They are the lessons that define or erode our character. They soften us and they often harden us. Families can be messy and dysfunctional, but at the core of a family you will often find love.
Sometimes, like in the instance of part of my family, the love is covered by a lot of drama. Some of the drama I participated in (wrongly, stupidly, and sometimes unknowingly). Some of the drama predated me. So, it causes a lot of tension and hurt in our world. We (meaning my husband and I) have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to heal some of the hurt. We have tried to write awkwardly worded letters, emails and texts, and have tried calling only to find that the number we had was disconnected, only leaving us feeling more hurt, and covering up more of the love. It wasn’t until late one night, while I couldn’t sleep (normally I take that as a sign that GOD wants to talk) that I turned on the radio trying to push some of my mental garbage from my brain. The first song was the hymn, How Great Thou Art. In that moment I just knew that I needed to fall to my knees in prayer and seek the guidance of my Father in Heaven, after all my favorite scripture is James 1:5, (NIV) “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
I cried to the Lord, asking him to take my pain away. I cried to him to forgive me for the role that I played in the hurt of this family that He brought me too. This family that I have hurt is not the family I was born to, but the family I was married to. This family was His gift to me, to learn from and grow with and learn life lessons from, and I had played a role in its hurt and pain. I asked Him to help me forgive myself for the words that I have said that have hurt others, and then I quietly asked for him to strengthen me and guide me. I felt such peace. As I rose from my prayer, it was as a small voice whispered to me to seek forgiveness and to give forgiveness as I had been forgiven. Whoa!!!! I had just been given the strength I needed to help heal my family. I love it when I get almost instant responses. Sometimes answers to prayers take forever. (I think HE is trying to teach me a little more patience)
Forgiveness is something that is so hard to swallow. WHY???? I know from personal experience, seeking it means accepting your role in wrong doing, and who wants to be wrong, right? And then on the other hand, giving forgiveness means releasing another person’s transgression against you, and that is equally hard. However for our own personal growth, let alone, our eternal salvation, forgiveness is required of us. Mathew 6:14-15 counsels us of the dangers of not forgiving others. Forgiveness is a precious, healing gift from our Father in Heaven and from Jesus Christ. Even if no one else forgives us of our trespasses, as long as we seek the forgiveness of God and of Christ, are repentant, forgive others and remember to forgive ourselves, we will be learning and sharing the greatest lessons that life can offer us.
Sisters, I testify to you the healing power of forgiveness. I know that I have a lot of work to do to heal my family. I also know that with the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the Love and strength of my Father in Heaven, that I will be able to offer forgiveness and be forgiven; because through the Lord Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, all things are possible. We just have to seek HIS counsel and forgiveness and let go of the hurt (sometimes offenders don’t know and often don’t care that they have trespassed… So give them and yourself a gift and forgive. Forgiveness is so hard, but in the end, once we dig through all the crud and the hurt and the pain we are granted great reward for our small (and sometimes HUGE) sacrifice. We will be healed. We will be made whole. I will pray for each of you that you will feel our Father’s love and desire for you to become more forgiving of yourself and of others.