|Monday, Apr. 07, 2003 || Seventy times seven|
Forgiveness is a powerful thing. It is often the substance of miracles.
A few years ago, I was hurt very badly by someone I considered a very close friend. Like family. It was a very painful time in my life. I went through a lot of self-doubt, anger, and depression.
More than a year later, I went to a conference where I was taught that whether or not someone ever sought my forgiveness, I had to forgive them. I had to separate their behavior from them, grieve over it, and then release it and them to God, and forgive. By forgiving and releasing them to God, I would allow God to work, allow Him to do what God does - work miracles. And most importantly, I would heal.
It took me a while to do this, even though I knew it was the right thing to do. I finally came to a point where I knew I could not let the bitterness ruin my life and so I forgave.
Forgiveness is often a process. That verse about 70 times 7? Sometimes it means for the same offense. And I had to do that in this situation. I had to forgive this person more than once. The old hurt and pain would creep up, so I prayed about it time and again. I prayed for God to show me how to express love to this person, though I knew it would be a difficult and humbling thing for me. I never expected them to apologize or acknowledge what they had done.
I have been corresponding on and off with her over the past few months. Small talk. Benign subject matter. Just trying to keep the communication lines open. Trying to reach out a bit but being careful too.
Rob and I had to come down to the town where she and her husband live last night. We went to the church they attend. I knew they would probably be there, and I had prayed that it would be a good experience. That I would be able to love her as Christ loves me.
After the service was over, she came up to me and we made some small talk. Then she asked if she could speak to me for a few minutes. And she apologized to me! She acknowledged the pain she had caused and she said, "I realized I never apologized to you. I am sorry." It was amazing! And the coolest part was that I could look at her and know that I had already forgiven her months ago.
Her husband, who had also been a part of all the pain and hurt (this was a very difficult situation for both Rob and I when it all came to pass a few years ago) gave us both a hug. We are supposed to stop by their house tonight before we head back home.
All that I have been taught about forgiving them anyway and releasing it to God so that HE can work in and through them came to pass last night.
He is still in the miracle business. Sometimes it just starts with us.
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