The other day some issues came up perhaps a blog post I read; yes that’s it, it was a blog post. The blog post dealt with steps one should take in a asking for forgiveness. The post was written very well, and really had some great points. Yet, it caused me to remember a story a friend of mine told me of the truth of forgiveness need not always to be asked for to be given. “The burden of forgiveness lies equally with the one who must forgive, as with the one who must ask for it.” my friend said.
Here is my friends story:
When I was a young lad about fifteen, my mother would tell me something that would effect me even till this day. First let me set the scene to the story. I never knew my real Father, in fact I finally got to see a picture of him when I was in my late twenties. He was very abusive to both me and my mother, to the point that my Grandfather had to come pick up us, and when my dad came looking for us, my Grandfather greeted him with a shotgun; So the story goes.
Consequently my grandparents would raise me, don’t remember much of my mother in my early years but my Grandmother was very pivotal and my Grandfather raised me till I was six. at which point my mom remarried.
My Dad who was my step dad was actually a good man who tried the best he knew how. Who himself had to come to terms with an abusive childhood. It took me a lot of years to understand this; because my stepfather was also very abusive; both physically and verbally. My mom and my step dad would even separate for a while and when they were together to say that they had even a decent marriage would be a stretch. So for me my idea of a marriage of what a family should look like of great parents were my grandparents.
So back to afternoon when I was fifteen, I had just gotten home from school when my mother gives me the news that would leave such a lasting impact, I can still see it clearly today. My grandparents had split, and my Grandmother was coming to live with us. Wait that isn’t it; reason they were splitting was my Grandfather was off his rocker going mad.
It would be six years before I would see or talk to the only real Father I had known. When a friend and I went to visit him. For fifteen years the family lied, and hid my Grandmother. Even to the point, that when I got married, My parents and my Grandmother told me I couldn’t invite the only real Father; I had ever known, my grandfather. If I did they wouldn’t come. So here it was the happiest of my life and one of the most important people to me could not come.
Years later, my Grandmother would be given a year to live, she was dying of lung cancer. Do you want to know where she spent the last year, in the arms of the only man she had ever loved. who cared for her as he had always, where was the man who had lost his marbles, still do not know till this day. On the day of the funeral my Grandfather met my bride, I lied told him I had eloped.
Later, my grandfather who had been blind most of his adult life would get cataract surgery. My parents would pick him up and bring him home. For the first time, my Grandfather would get to see the young boy, who was now a man with a child of his own. As my Grandfather was sharing with me how proud he was, I could no longer live the lies.
I told him everything, how my Grandmother had been hidden, my wedding, even showed the pics,, everything.
Yet, it was the reaction and the words he said that left me with an even greater impression, then the memory of the years of all the lies. Son, I knew a lot of it, but really how can I be angry when my heavenly father has forgiven me of so much, so much. Years of lies, betrayal, slander, and ridicule gone just like that. I think my wife summed it best, “your Grandfather is the holiest man I have ever met” That was saying something considering she had graduated from a Christian school.
I would ask my mother later, if she had apologized, if she had told my Granddad the truth, if anyone had. She replied “No, and we are not going to either.” I said Mom, understand I am an adult now, and you do not need to, I already have and Mom he has already forgiven.
Years would pass my Grand father would go on to be with both loves of his life. My father and I would develop a half way decent relationship. Yet, it wasn’t till the day of my own Daughter’s wedding that true healing would occur in that relationship. When at the reception I would tell my Father, I loved him, in front of 300 witnesses.
There was never a; son I am sorry for all the black eyes and bloody mouths. There was never an apology for the your stupid’s and your an idiots. What there was was a remembrance of the lesson my Grandfather had taught me; but more importantly the lesson his Savior had taught him.
You know it’s a funny thing when Christ was asked how often should I forgive; there was never a condition given first. There was never a when your asked for it or when they confess or when they admit to forgive 70X7; it was just forgive.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed my friend’s story today. Personally I still struggle with this concept, when someone does me wrong I want to tell them. OK, you want forgiveness, then confess it, I’ll forgive.
Does this mean that if somebody has wronged you, you shouldn’t tell them, you should and they should confess. but this story has more to do with waiting till they confess before we forgive.
It has to do with an understanding of our own depravity, and that when we ask for forgiveness, from our heavenly father, it has already been given we are just coming into agreement. When he forgave all on the cross, who trust in him. It was past, present, and future.
Is there someone you are waiting on to forgive today?
Do you understand the forgiveness your heavenly father has given you?