Forgiveness – When It’s Not Easy

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Forgiveness – When It’s Not Easy  by Phil Boileau

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12

Have any of you ever heard of Corrie ten Boom?  She was a holocaust survivor, who told her story in the book, “The Hiding Place”.  If there was ever a person who had the right to be vindictive, it was Corrie.  She endured so many terrible things while in three different concentration camps.  Her experiences could have created an unforgiving spirit, but that never happened.  It’s easy to forgive the trivial mistakes, but what about the things that tear your heart apart?

Without going into great detail, six years ago I was put in a difficult predicament where my willingness to forgive was tested.  My son-in-law, my best friend, was found guilty of some terrible crimes.  (He is presently serving a 30-year sentence for his poor choices.)  His actions left my daughter without a husband, my three grandchildren without a father, and countless victims with ruined lives.  He presented himself as a man of God but secretively was acting nothing like a Christ-follower.  Every time I read of his case in the paper or saw the details revealed on television, I felt betrayed.

I had a choice to make – a difficult choice.  Was I going to condemn his behavior but stay connected to him, and minister to him, or was I going to totally abandon him?  I chose the first option even though many, even within the church, thought I was crazy.

While this was a terrible situation, God turned it into good.  I have been visiting Jaie in prison for six years now.  Our visits always include prayer and a repentant heart.  This incident also introduced me to prison ministry where besides visiting Jaie, I do a Bible study and have a worship time with inmates every other week.  Forgiveness is a choice just as loving others is a choice.  I’m no one special for forgiving him.  If I was to be obedient to God, I really didn’t have a choice.  I had to forgive, not just for his good, but for my own.

Corrie did not deserve her imprisonment and mistreatment, yet this is what Corrie had to say about forgiveness, “When we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever.  Then God places a sign out there that says, “No Fishing Allowed”.

“Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13