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  • Lea Hartline

Forgiveness

Updated: May 15, 2022


Ephesians 4:32

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God Christ forgave you.

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Forgiveness is not always my go-to when I feel wronged. I try, but my family includes two sisters who didn't speak for over 40 years, even when they ended up in the same senior center. When God leads me to verses about forgiveness, I always have that moment where I say, but God, they did all of this. God, they don't even acknowledge you. Why do I have to forgive?


The reason I have to forgive is because He, God, said to forgive. Drop mic, end of the story. I have to work on my heart. I don't have to work on fixing them or rehashing their wrongs. I have to be tenderhearted and reflect on all God has forgiven me for so that I can grasp how blessed I am and follow his command for me.


My husband, Robert, and my biological father, Pat, died on the same day, about 12 hours apart. Pat was not an award-winning father. His greatest gift to each of his children was walking out the door.


I offered Pat forgiveness and a refresh. He didn't want it because he felt he had done nothing wrong. I closed the door and never looked back. Pat had hurt me. I washed my hands and walked away. What I didn't do was forgive.


While planning Robert's funeral, I commented on Pat dying. I brushed away that his death bothered me. It did bother me, but not because of him. Because of me, I had never forgiven him. I thought I was okay until I had a conversation with my cousin Tony. When I got off the phone with him I cried about Pat's death for the first time. Not about the Pat I knew, but about the Pat I wished he could have been.


I cried because I read the love letters he wrote to my mother while in the military. I cried because, at one time in his life, he had been kind and won my mother's heart. I thought about the damage his unforgiveness did to all those around him. He was a man so bent on not forgiving he hurt all those he should have loved. I cried because I never once knew that kind-hearted man; I only knew the man who blamed everyone else for his problems. In those tears, I began the process of forgiving my father for everything.


How do you forgive someone who doesn't want forgiveness, feel they did no wrong, or are out of your life for whatever reason. I would love to say "easy," but the truth is that I am still working on that issue. What I have learned is sometimes forgiveness is not a one and done.


When I wake up, I ask God to forgive me my sins, and I also ask God to let me see those I feel wronged me in a new loving light. Each day I have to offer forgiveness in my prayer time until the anger and brokenness in my heart are gone. I have to trust that bringing my hurt and pain to God will allow Him to help me forgive and move forward from the pain.




Mark 11:25-26

Matthew 5:43-48

Romans 12:17-21

1 Peter 3:8-9

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Life on Faith and Fumes

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