Let me tell you a story about a man who told me a story.
Norman and his wife came to our home Bible study for years, and I always looked forward to his company. I still remember him with the long glowing white beard and the jovial smile, and his quiet bearing. Not that he was quiet, but he did have a soft voice.
He wasn’t quiet, at least for me, since he told a story of his family that twisted my head on right and helped me find healing with my children.
We were in the midst of a study, I think in the book of Matthew, and the topic of forgiveness came up. Most in the study were making comments, and I was trying to stir the pot by asking difficult questions, to get people thinking, when Norman cut to the heart.
He spoke of an only daughter, the one child whom he had not seen for years. He spoke of her breaking relationship with him and his desire to repair the connection. Someone asked of the wrong that he had done, and he spoke of a clear conscience towards his daughter. The young lady had imagined Norman had wronged her and dwelled on it until it became a weeping sore in her thoughts. A poisonous pill that killed a relationship.
Many were stumped of this unfixable state of affairs and promised we would pray. Some of us actually confessed we had similar struggles with our children, that we had differences of opinion and attitudes toward the children that barred a close relationship due to some of their decisions.
Norman challenged us to forgive them of their actions as this is the primary duty of the child of God, and many were brought to face about our dereliction of love toward our own loved ones. It bothered me that I had been carrying attitudes and feelings that were sinful towards my children.
But Norman didn’t stop there. He told us of his trying to connect with his daughter and of asking forgiveness from her. But Norman – You said you had a clear conscience towards her. Surely you meant after you asked her for forgiveness, correct? “No”, said Norman, “I had a clear conscience prior to asking for forgiveness.”
Always the anal one, I shot back – “How could you ask for forgiveness if you have not sinned against her? That is not just!”
Love does not keep count of wrongdoings Carl. If my daughter thinks I have done her wrong, I will accept that, and ask her for forgiveness. A relationship with her is more important than my pride or my understanding of justice!
That blew my mind. My children may have something against me (either perceived or in reality) that I need to clear the air of. I needed to ask for forgiveness, not only exercise forgiveness toward them.
As I met with my children, especially my sons, I admitted my failings and asked for forgiveness. This was one of the major turning points in my mind as to a great healing in our family.
If you have a barrier between you and a loved one – Go seek them out, sit them down and confess your wrongdoings against them, ask for forgiveness and wait.
Do not demand anything from them, do not bring up any defense for your previous actions, do not play a blame game in attributing some of the fault on them. Take responsibly for your wrongdoings (real or perceived), humbly ask for forgiveness and wait. God loves to be in the forgiveness business and He will be in the middle of it!
If this seems foreign to you, you may need to go the the Father and do the same.
Do not demand anything from God, do not bring up any defense for your previous actions, do not play a blame game in attributing some of the fault to God. Take responsibly for your wrongdoings, humbly ask for forgiveness from the Father in heaven. Begin to know the Father through His Son, who provided the forgiveness that you will be granted.
This simple honest action will change your life. And follow the One who forgave.
For He is good!
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