I’ll never forget the day I was unable to recognize my own father. Burned in my memory is the image of that frail man, tumors ravaging his face and neck, obscuring his face and rendering him grotesquely disfigured. Slurred speech; a slow, shuffling walk; sadness in his eyes – this is the way I remember him. This is the way I don’t want to remember him. That was the last time I saw him alive.
The journey to that day was a long one. Years of lies and deceit, hurt and neglect paved the way. But in that moment I was totally surprised by the emotion I felt. It wasn’t anger or resentment, nor was it sorrow or a feeling of vindication. What I felt was forgiveness. In an instant I understood what Jesus sees when He sees me. A life grotesquely disfigured by sin; a slow, shuffling walk beneath the weight of heavy burdens; speech slurred with the vulgarities of the world; eyes filled with sadness at the knowledge of my own depravity. But in one glance, forgiveness came.
That day my father accepted my forgiveness as freely as I gave it. Just like on the day so many years before I accepted His forgiveness as freely as He gave it. What a moment. All wrongs erased. All blame, hate, and resentment gone. I like remembering that part.
Forgiveness is a choice that is often difficult and painful, but when we emancipate others (and ourselves) through the mercy God has imparted to us, we achieve consummate freedom. I am no longer bound by the hurts of the past. I acknowledge them, but they cannot devour my joy. Painful though they were, those experiences allowed me to understand the Father’s amazing grace and for that I will always be grateful.
by Deidra in The MiddleLeave a Comment
Amy Hunt says
He is so amazing, isn’t He? — How He gives this Grace is so incredible!
I’m walking through this more grown-up realization of what forgiveness is, and what it isn’t. And I’m receiving it’s truths for my own father, too. Your post touched me today and resonated with what Our Father has been speaking to my own heart about this. I appreciate your story-sharing.
Rich blessings, Deidra, as you live in peace over your Father’s grace and love…
Amy Sullivan says
Look at you over at (in)courage! Nice.
Such a beautifully told story.
awesome post. the image that is the strongest for me is: slow, shuffling walk beneath the weight of heavy burdens. nicely written.
I think we can all relate to problems with forgiveness, whether we’ve needed to forgive or be forgiven. This is beautiful, Deidra, really beautiful 🙂
colleen laquay urbaniuk @ thegiftofmondays.com says
what a wonderful post and so wonderfully written. as awesome that you were able to forgive your father. may we all choose to use our Father as an example for how we should live. happy monday!
Hi Deidra – what a freeing moment, to offer that forgiveness. Forgiveness releases that person, but it also releases the forgiver! I like what you say at the end – I am no longer bound by the hurts of the past. I acknowledge them, but they cannot devour my joy. Amen – they no longer have power over you.
Betty Draper says
Scars Are A Sign Of Healing….a song that carries such profound truth in its words. Forgiveness is the salve that takes a wound and makes it a scar. As long as it stays a wound we will spend most of our time trying not to touch it for it just plain hurts. in every fiber of our life. But a scar can be touched and used by the Master of scars for His glory. This post has brought glory to Him and joy to us who read it BECAUSE YOU CHOSE TO FORGIVE. Thank you Deidra for sharing your heart, my heart says amen, amen, amen my courageous wise heated sister.