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As we journey through life we sometimes experience challenges and trials that are caused by other people. This is unavoidable. People hurt us for all kinds of reasons, on accident, for revenge, or sometimes they may hurt us without even realizing it. These trials can stretch us, perhaps to our very limits. I believe the only way to face these trials well is with an attitude of forgiveness.
There are many scriptural passages that teach the importance of forgiveness such as “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. ” and “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. ” These scriptures ring true, but I have to admit there are times when forgiveness can seem out of reach. It may be an especially painful event or a repeatedly, difficult person in your life. In my experience, sometimes I’ll try and try to get through the hurt a particular person has caused me and give my best efforts to try and forgive them. But that warm feeling of forgiveness escapes me and the best I’ve been able to do is put it out of mind.
A couple of years ago I had a particularly painful experience that provided me with a new prospective on forgiving others. My wife and I had just welcomed our first child into the world, a baby boy we named Isaac. We loved our new addition to the family and enjoyed the warmth and love he brought into our lives. But for first time parents, taking care of a newborn baby was a big adjustment. I remember staying up late, rocking my son to sleep to give my exhausted wife a much-needed break and then waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to put him back to sleep after feeding him. I was also working two full-time jobs and didn’t have much time to sleep without the added stress of a crying baby. It was a difficult experience that didn’t leave my wife and I much patience for each other. We started getting into arguments and my wife packed up her things and took our son after one heated exchange.
My wife was so angry she didn’t come back. I tried everything I could to coax her back home but she refused. She eventually filed for divorce but it was months before I was able to see my son again. He was three-months-old when she left and by the time I saw him again he was eight-months-old. I didn’t get to see him grow. He didn’t recognize me once we were finally reunited. I was hurt and angry at her for stealing five months of my son’s life away from me. Even as vengeful thoughts consumed me during our divorce process, I realized I needed to forgive her. I didn’t know how I could let go of the hurt so I prayed for help to forgive her. I didn’t want to hate the mother of my child. It took time, a lot of pleading to God and the help of a new wife that I adore, but I discovered forgiveness has a healing power that gives us the strength to overcome our trials.
There came into my heart a peace through forgiveness. I experienced it. With all the storms life throws at us, I don’t think I would be able to get through this life without it. Even if the person you have forgiven continues to hurt you, you will know you have done everything you could. I’m so thankful for the miracle of forgiveness.
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