Sunday, November 23, 2008

Love Dare Day 25--Love Forgives

I am skipping over a few chapters of the "Love Dare" book because they do not pertain to my relationship with my children and are truly only related to a marriage relationship. I was even contemplating not continuing on with this challenge thinking that from here on would be solely related to marriage issues.

Then, I read on:


What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ......1 Corinthians 2:10

and the dare for this day:

Whatever you haven't forgiven in your children, forgive it today. Let it go. Just as we ask Jesus to "forgive our debts" each day, we must ask Him to help us "forgive our debtors" each day as well. Unforgiveness has been keeping my children and I in prison for too long. Say from your heart, "I choose to forgive."

Before I answer my follow up to this day, I want to write a little here about forgiveness. I've had a lot to forgive in my life, and I've come to learn that unforgiveness is a condition of your heart. It's as though your heart is locked in a prison with many cells--cells that contain people from your past--maybe your parents, maybe your spouse, maybe people who have hurt you in the past, and yes, maybe even your children.

This state of prison exists inside of your heart every day unless you choose to forgive. And the longer these people and whatever has happened stay in your heart, the more bitter and resentful you will become.

What happens is you become trapped in this state of unforgiveness. Yes, what they did was very wrong, more than likely hurtful to you in some way or another.

But, forgiveness is not absolving the other party of blame, it is freeing you from the anger, bitterness and resentment you are carrying around with you every day of your life--the emotions that are literally eating you alive, making you a prisoner as well.

How can we be joyful when we are feeling such hurt? Does the other person or persons even realize or care that we feel this way about what they may have said or done to us? No, they are going about their lives--not thinking about what may have occurred--probably not really even caring, and we are the ones who are suffering.

That is why forgiveness is so important. It lifts us up out of the prison of darkness that has encased our hearts and frees us.

So, how do we go about forgiving others?

We turn them over to God. Release your anger, your desire for revenge to the Lord.

"Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeange is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord"...Romans 12:19

As I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of areas in my life that I needed to turn over to God--a lot of unnecessary hurts, a lot of wrong done to me. I was becoming more angry and bitter, more resentful every moment of my life. And there was Jesus, just waiting for me to turn all of this over to Him--He holds the key and He is the key.

Through much prayer and guidance from other fellow Christians, I was able to forgive many wrongs from my past. I'm not saying that this happened overnight or in a flash of lightening. It took time and effort on my part.

Was this time and effort and prayer that I devoted to this worth it? Yes, definitely. The anger is gone, the bitterness is gone, the resentment is gone--and instead of these emotions I am calm, peaceful and joyful.

And you may ask this question: How do I know when I have truly forgiven someone?

The answer: When you can think of that person, see that person, hear that person spoken of and you no longer feel the anger, bitterness and resentment boiling up inside of you. Then you know that you have given this to God to take care of for you.

The follow up for today:

What did you forgive your children for today? How long have you been carrying the weight of it? What are the possibilities now that you've released this matter to God?

I do not have one specific thing for each of my children that I have forgiven. We are in a mother-child relationship, even though they are now adults. I have to say that over the years of their "growing-up" time that I forgave them for many things, just as my parents forgave me for the difficulties of just trying to reach adulthood--things said in anger, rules that were made that were broken.

Ater having thought about this for some time, I realized that I still come back to their relationship with their father. I really would prefer that they be like me and have nothing to do with him at all. Is that fair of me? Is that even realistic of me? No, it's not.

When I would hear one of them tell him that they loved him, I would just cringe--thinking to myself--"How can they even say that? How can they say that they love him? Why do they even want to continue to have any kind of relationship with him?"

And so, again through prayer and guidance from others, I have given this to God. They are my children, but they are also their father's children. And more than anything, they are God's children, even if they don't realize it at this time.

Once again, I have turned to Jesus with this matter--handing Him the controls, letting go of my own feelings towards my childrens' father which actually was hampering my own relationship with them. I actually was holding an attitude of unforgiveness towards my children because of this.

Since I have done this, I have heard my son on the phone with his father, talking about football and a few other discussions. He ends the conversation with "I love you".

I no longer cringe at these words. Regardless of my own feelings, this man is their father. They are adults and capable of making decisions on their own. If they choose to have a relationship with him, it is not of my concern.

And so we move on to Day 26


When you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.....Romans 2:1

and the dare for this day:

Take time to pray through your areas of wrongdoing. Ask for God's forgiveness, then humble yourself enough to admit them to your children. Do it sincerely and truthfully. Ask your children for forgiveness as well. No matter how they respond, make sure you cover your responsibility in love. Even if they respond with criticism, accept it by receiving it as counsel.

Chelle' is hosting this "Love Dare". You can visit her by clicking on the book at the top of the post.



Joyfulsister said...

Hi Beth!!
((Hugz Sistah)) This is a powerful post, I do have children and it is so important to let them know despite their mistakes and rebellion we continue to love and pray for them. I tell my children there is nothing so bad that they can do that will make me stop loving them. we all need forgiveness in this world. sometimes we find it hard to forgive those closest to us.

Blessings Lorie

Denise said...

Powerful, and lovely my friend.

HisFireFly said...

As our pastor often wisely and siomply states "forgiveness sets the captive free, and we are the captive"
Great truths in your post.