My siblings and I were deeply hurt by our dad when we were growing up. He broke our mother’s heart by taking up a mistress and bringing her into our home. He also constantly insulted us and our mum, and in the process, our love for him turned to hatred. Anytime we would meet to talk about family issues and the discussion around our dad came up, the wounds would reopen afresh and everyone would disclose their negative feelings.
I, however, always felt that my siblings didn’t understand the whole matter well enough and that their hatred for our dad was less than mine. I would on many occasions, personally sit them down to remind them of everything we had been through, lest they forget and forgive him. This was despite the fact that we were all Christians and went to church, prayed, and considered ourselves very right and deserving of God’s love. I could even justify to God why I could not forgive my dad or allow my siblings to also do the same.
One day, I sat down to read the bible and decided to reread the book of Genesis as I had done many times before. I, however, kept repeating chapter two over and over again. After some time, the thought of my dad’s situation came to my mind and I now know that God was speaking to me.
I started analyzing the whole issue and God clearly said there is no sin that he could not forgive, and that is why he sent his son to die on the cross for humanity. He reminded me that my father was his child and that he had forgiven him. So if he had forgiven him, why was I still harboring un-forgiveness for him? I remembered all the times that I had actually wronged God and sought his forgiveness. I also remembered the many uncountable instances I had wronged others, and how incomplete I was without God’s forgiveness.
Immediately I started weeping and asked God to forgive me. A few days later I called my mum and all my siblings for a meeting, and pleaded with them to release our dad from their hearts. After that I felt lighter but still kept asking God to help me release my dad completely. It has been two years now. My dad knows that I love him, and even though he knows that what he did was wrong, I told God that I would do my part of forgiving him, respecting him, and honoring him as my dad.
The rest was not up to me. He belongs to God and only God knows how best to handle him.
If we love God, his love should manifest in us just as John says in 1 John 4:7 , “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God.” God’s love is selfless and until we embrace God’s love completely in our lives, we cannot truly forgive ourselves or others. In this regard, forgiveness is only possible where love is present, and love cannot abound without forgiveness. Love only comes from God and since God loves you, and you love him, you cannot not forgive.
What situation is it that has made you not release whoever you are holding in your heart now? Could their mistake be greater than that of Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God?