Forgiveness

A few weeks ago, I watched as a local news channel interviewed the father of a slain police officer.  The interview took place just hours after the suspect in the officer’s murder dramatically surrendered to police, only after insisting that television cameras be rolling to capture the climactic event and ensure his safety.  The father sat in what appeared to be his living room and spoke candidly to the news reporter and to all watching.  As he spoke for himself, he calmly yet solemnly stated that he was relieved the ordeal had come to an end without any other innocent lives being so tragically impacted.  He, also, noted that he holds no bitterness towards the man who allegedly decided his son’s life should end on that fateful Spring day.

Wow…

Next, this proud and loving father turned his words to speak of and for his son.  He shared that his son felt God called him to his earthly profession as a police officer – to serve and to  protect the citizens of his community.  Earlier news reports made clear that the fallen public servant was, also, a servant of the Lord.  It was reported that he was a dedicated and active member in his local Baptist church congregation – teaching Sunday school, serving as a deacon, and operating the sound system during Sunday service.  Recently, he’d even requested to train as a chaplain through his police department.  He desired to be equipped and available to serve those impacted by the magnitude of loss his family was now experiencing.

Beyond all of these things, what struck me most was that the young officer’s father said he was certain that if events had ended differently, his son would have forgiven the man now accused of taking his life.  He said not only would he have forgiven him, but he would have wanted to and would have tried to take the young man under his wing and help him in any way he could.

Again, wow…

Forgiveness is powerful.  Even in death, this man’s legacy of forgiveness was still speaking loud and clear.  I had quite a few thoughts as I watched this news interview.  I didn’t know anything about the slain officer.  However, previous news reports about him and other interviews with people who knew and loved him only confirmed his father’s words.  Then I, also, reflected on the father who’s now lost his son way too soon.  Quite possibly, the young man was an apple that didn’t fall too far from the tree or a chip off the old block, as the sayings go.  Forgiveness was so clearly mixed in his father’s words that one would just assume the son would be the same way.

Forgiveness is easy for some yet challenging for others.  Sometimes we think we have forgiven simply to find that we have not.  A few years ago, I led a small group bible study for women.  One of the lessons the Holy Spirit led me to pen was on forgiveness.  At the end of this post you will find an excerpt from the journal instructions I gave the participants in this study.  I promise you.  This is one of the few posts in this A to Z Blog Challenge that I actually wrote ahead of time.  This paragraph and what you will read below is being added as I follow what I believe to be the leading of God’s Spirit.  I challenge you to follow the very simple instructions below, incorporating the exercise into your quiet/devotional time.  Meditate on the “forgiveness gauge” (instructions below), and see what the Spirit tells you about your heart to forgive.

I consider myself one who forgives easily.  However, after asking the Lord to examine me recently, I found that there were some people in my life I needed to set free on the wings of forgiveness from my heart.  I challenge you to do the same.  What will you find?  I’d love to hear your stories.

Until tomorrow…(Hey, I’m starting to like the sound of that!)

FORGIVENESS EXERCISE

A heart eager to forgive is a heart eager to love others authentically as God loves us.

1. We must be able to forgive others for their wrongs – intentional or unintentional – towards us.

2. We must be able to forgive ourselves for our sins – intentional or unintentional.

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart (Psalm 139:23; Jeremiah 17:10) and reveal to you the names of those people – past or present – who have wronged you – intentionally or unintentionally – and to what extent your heart still holds some level of bitterness toward them.  Be prepared.  If you pray sincerely, the Lord will even reveal people and situations in which you were not even aware of the wrong nor its impact in your life.

1.  Make a list of the names and the offenses in your journal.

2.  Using the stationery given, write a note of forgiveness to each individual on the list.  Write as much or as little as you wish, but be sure to be specific, making mention of the offense for which you are extending forgiveness.  Try to include a word of blessing in each note.  For some, this may be difficult to do.  Ask the Holy Spirit to assist you.  (Philippians 4:13)  When you are finished.  As you seal the note, say a prayer and ask the Lord to seal forgiveness for this person in your heart.  You may either mail the note to the person, or you may dispose of the note in the manner you choose.

Note:  Forgiveness is a process that takes longer for some than for others.  First, do not be discouraged if you continue to see evidence of bitterness and resistance to forgive in your heart.  However, you must be vigilant to combat it.  Diligently seek the Lord, daily, for evidence of change and deliverance.  Next, print the “Forgiveness Gauge” below and post it somewhere for visible to you on a daily basis.  Use a colorful thumbtack or other object to post on the gauge as a measure of your progress, moving forward or backward as necessary.  Remember:

  • E (empty) represents a continued challenge and extreme difficulty to forgive
  • F (full) represents a great capacity to forgive

 

Lastly, pray daily for a heart to forgive others and yourself, according to 1John5:14, 15. 14. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”


Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,

 
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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stacey
    Apr 07, 2011 @ 10:15:34

    Good morning! I remember you sharing this a little over two ago. I will put a ‘forgiveness letter’ on my agenda for Sunday morning after devotion during my weekend getaway. I will follow up with you on next week. Love Ya! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Margaret Hall
    Apr 07, 2011 @ 16:25:42

    Forgiveness, such a great subject for all of us to heed…The Father of the slain fellow is quite strong and I applaud his brave and tedious words…One that reads your blog can certainly tell that Faith is quite a virtue with you…
    Thanks for sharing…
    See you for “G”….
    http://timeforabucketlist.blogspot.com/
    http://imagesinthought.blogspot.com/
    http://the-old-story-tree.blogspot.com/
    http://bagladythoughts.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  3. Keena
    Apr 07, 2011 @ 20:57:58

    Good post….

    Reply

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