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