My mom called me last week. For those of you who may be new to the blog, my mom and I have been estranged for several years. She is a mentally ill alcoholic. One of the things she said in the voice mail message she left to me was, "You are everything that is wrong with the Christian faith. I am embarrassed of you."
I was upset. I was mad. Mad at myself as much as her, that I had listened to the message and not just deleted it. I was driving around running errands, and I was stewing. Dwelling. Making myself miserable. And I thought to myself, "I hate her. I really hate her."
I'd not said those words before, though I'd had grounds to do so. But a funny thing happened. Finally giving myself permission to say that did not make me feel better. It made me feel worse. And I felt like the devil smiled.
So this time I said out loud, "I forgive you, Mom." I felt a twinge in my heart. What was that? Could it be joy? I said it again, louder, "I forgive you, Mom." I said it twice more, than I started thanking and praising God that he forgives me. And I was filled with such abundant joy. And I haven't felt badly about that message again.
Does this mean we all live happily ever after? No. This is real life. I am still estranged from my mom. But I can still forgive her, even without her asking for it. And I can be joyful in spite of the pain, and because of the forgiveness.
Who can you forgive today that will not only free them from the debt of hurting you, but free yourself from the pain of the hurt as well?
Matthew 6:14, 15 -- For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.