This morning we were laying low…our only day to stay home this week…and the boys and I were watching the VeggieTales Jonah DVD. It is amazing what God will do when you simply think you’re entertaining your children. On a morning I thought I was just going to chill and relax…nope…God had other plans. The word hypocrite came to mind and opened a big can of worms.
For about 20 years I carried around a secret, private wound that festered like an infection in my soul. A bitter resentment that seemed to grow out of control…that is until this past Spring when God began to heal it…something only He could do. The day God made me realize that forgiveness is between He and I…and not the person with whom I was so in love with anger…was one of freedom. In fact, I’ll never forget it. I was picking up toys in the boys’ room and came across one of Maxwell’s trucks that happens to have the same name as my father. When I read it I didn’t have that same familiar dagger through my heart I was used to every time I heard his name. My eyes didn’t well with tears. My breath wasn’t sucked from my chest. My face didn’t burn in fierce, red anger. I felt different. I felt peace. I wondered what his life was like. I wondered if he was hurting. I wondered if he knew the Lord. I wondered if I would meet him someday…not in this life, but the next. I knew it was God working in me and I knew I had finally forgiven him.
On my birthday last week I was having an amazingly wonderful day. Toward the very end however…I allowed myself to think some thoughts and in just 60 seconds that deep gash was hashed open leaving my heart aching once again. I have turned a year older 31 times…and he has never been there…does he even care? Does he even know when I was born? Does he even know my name? Does he know that I am a good, loving person and it has absolutely nothing to do with him? Does he know he has 3 grandchildren who are SO awesome? Does he even want to know me? Look at what he missed…it’s his loss! I’m ashamed to say it didn’t end there. All of those feelings came back like a rush when just the very day before I had said…I had believed…that I’ve forgiven him. Those thoughts that I just buried and forgot about and renounced in my belief of forgiveness…until today of course…made me wonder…did I really forgive him?
I allowed myself to change my perspective and in just a minute of the wrong focus I chose to see the negative and forgot about all of the blessings God has lavished upon me. An incredible father who loves me and protection from one that clearly did not. A wonderful life that I do not deserve filled with God’s grace and mercy and countless second chances. A husband who loves me more than I could have ever dreamed of, asked or imagined and children with whom God rescued me. How could I even for a second forget all of that and rip open a wound that God had already sealed up? How could I say I’ve forgiven someone and then continue to harbor bitterness that way? Hypocrite!
What I’ve realized is that sometimes when we are broken and hurt by someone and we think we’re over it…the smallest thing can entice us revisit it and become broken all over again. We cannot mend our hearts on our own. We need God’s continual healing just like we need His continual saving grace. He is the only one who can make us whole. Forgiving someone…even if they don’t deserve it…even if they don’t care or realize they’ve hurt me…is something that is between me and the Lord. If I cannot forgive others…how can God forgive me? Is my sin not 10 million times worse than what my biological father has done to me? Even if I did nothing wrong…an innocent, abandoned victim of a terrible circumstance…isn’t that what Jesus was? Even though I sin against Him He loved me enough to die for me…to take my place. God turned His back on His only son who never did anything wrong…to save me…and I chose to forget that.
Who am I to be angry with a man I’ve never met…a man I don’t even know? Who am I to resent him when God stepped in and saved the day, my life, countless times over in his absence? Who am I not to give him a second chance when I am continually getting one from the Lord? Who am I, the pot, to call the kettle black? My heart is the one that needs changing. I need to constantly surround myself with God’s truth so I won’t be enticed with lies. My attitude needs to be one of thankfulness, compassion and mercy. Instead of holding onto anger toward him, I need to lovingly pray for my father. Wherever he is, whatever he’s doing, He needs Jesus just like I do. I pray He finds him so that someday I will meet him so I can say that I’m sorry!