Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Story of Forgiveness

I know women whose husbands have hurt them terribly. These men have lied to them, cheated on them, abandoned them, and abused them. How those women live with that level of hurt I do not know.

I, however, am married to a wonderful man. He loves God, he loves me, and he loves his children. This past year money problems have put a strain on our marriage. Our communication has not been what it once was. Neither of us is by any means perfect anyway, but this seems to have attacked each of us at our weakest point. I personally have struggled with anger in a major way. But even through our struggle, I never doubted Wesley’s love for me and I never worried that he would leave me.

While I have not had a horrible husband who hurt me deeply, I have experienced a deep level of pain in my past and I know that forgiveness is a large part of the healing from that kind of heart wound. Forgiveness is what keeps you from growing bitter. A couple of weeks ago God reminded me about forgiving people who had wounded me deeply. He reminded me of what I had forgiven in the past, and that I needed to forgive someone now. Then God said something that totally took me by surprise,
“Becky, while you are forgiving them, you need to forgive Wesley too.”
“But God, Wesley doesn’t need to be forgiven, he hasn’t done anything like that to hurt me. He loves me.”
That’s true, but do I feel hurt?
Yeah. I do feel hurt. Hurt and disappointed that we are struggling, hurt and disappointed with our relationship, hurt and disappointed that we can’t seem to understand each other. I definitely feel hurt.
Am I angry?
Oh yes, anger has been a huge struggle this year. Remember the beast?
What does an unforgiving heart become?
Angry and bitter.

This conversation I had with God and the thoughts that followed it became the piece I wrote on Forgiveness. I wrote, “Forgiveness is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of living life.” Believe me, I have not been living my life with an attitude of forgiveness toward anybody in the past year. Right then I forgave the people I needed to forgive, and a most remarkable thing happened inside of me. As I got out of bed after that conversation with God, I found myself unable to stop grinning. Nothing had changed on the outside. The people I forgave may never know how much they hurt me, may never know that I have forgiven them, Wesley did not even know it at that moment. My act of forgiveness was not for any of them, it was for me; God did something miraculous in my heart. And I still can’t stop grinning!

Rebecca A Givens
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