Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Something I have never been good at. I have always been one of those people who hold grudges and will trudge up old conflict at a moment's notice. Lovely quality to have, I know.
My outlook on forgiveness changed when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in 2003. At the time, I didn't believe it possible for change. I knew in order to be forgiven, I must forgive. However, I made excuses to myself and God. Saying this such as, "but you don't understand how bad this person hurt me" and "he is evil and doesn't deserve forgiveness". Though I never consciously said it, I pretty much thought "forgiveness is NOT possible for me". Even as recently as a year ago, I was struggling with some major issues in this area. Of course, I didn't realize it at the time. I thought I had let go of a lot of hurt and anger towards my biological father. It wasn't until I was sharing in cell group one night about how I searched the obits daily hoping to find my father's name. It was really at that moment, when I spoke those words, that I knew I had not forgiven him.

A few months later, I went through a 12-week bible study with Rachel from church. The night I got my book, I flipped through to see what all we would be covering. When I got to the forgiveness chapter, I slammed the book shut. I remember thinking, "well, I will surely find a reason to be too busy to do my study that week." And as you can imagine, something did come up. I do not think we met for bible study that week. Or we may have and I just pushed it out of my mind. Whatever the case, I know I only half-heartedly worked on that week's lesson.

Several weeks later, I felt so convicted about it. I got out of bed about midnight one night and set down and started the study. I worked on it for about two hours that night. After I put my books away and was crawling in bed, I burst into tears. I dropped to my knees and asked God for forgiveness. I knew what I had to do. It took me many years to wrap my mind around the fact that forgiveness is an act and not a feeling. That night I let go of all the resentment and bitterness I had carried with me my whole life. I forgave my father.

Last week, I was notified by a couple of people that they believed my father had died. Details were non-existent, so the search began. I had not spoken to him since 2003. I contacted many agencies that day and got no where. I was amazed just how hard it is to get information these days. The only concrete information I had was his last known place of employment. I contacted them and let them know the situation. They would not give me any information but offered to take a message, which I left.

I spent last weekend thinking about the sort of things many of us do when someone passes. Regrets. Things we wished we would have said or things we could have done differently. The only regret I had was not letting my father know I had forgiven him.

Five days went by and nothing.

Monday afternoon, as I walked in the door after a long day at work, my phone rang. When I answered, the voice on the other end was my father. I wish I could tell you that we had a conversation full of I love you's and I'm sorries, but we did not. He is still the same man I have known my whole life. Disconnected. A loner. But, I can tell you that I got the opportunity to tell him what God has done in my life. And that because of Him, I was able to forgive him. I don't know what, if any, impact that had on my father. I will probably never know. However, I am blessed beyond measure for that short 8 minute phone call.

Who will you be voting for on November 4th?