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forgiveness

I have asked for forgiveness many times in my life.  There are many times I have truly been undeserving, and miraculously I have been shown such grace it’s staggering. There are times I am sure people have walked away because they just couldn’t deal with me anymore. So now, when I am faced with the dilemma to forgive or to hold on to this cancerous blackness in my heart, why do I choose the latter?

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 
But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. -Matt 6:14-15

In church on Sunday, I was prayed over for my newly reacquired asthma difficulties before church.  As I sat there, praying and meditating on the word of God I realized that this latest breathing difficulties might not just be the damp, wet London environment, but maybe something more.  I realized that I have put off for almost 3 years now rectifying the hatred I have festered for my dad’s wife- his widow.  It’s been a rocky road since they married in 1994, and for years dad and I went round and round about her and him and their toxic relationship.

I realize that no matter what she did, or how she feels, that it’s not really about her. It’s about me, my conscience, my relationship with God and right now she’s interfering in that, even though my dad is dead and gone just about three years now.  I am bitter, I whole heartedly believe she married my dad with every intention that he would support her and her daughters, and I feel like she came between him and me on purpose because she didn’t want me to get any money from him that would otherwise be going to her daughters.  Yes, Cinderella.

I hate that I think that way about another person, but time and again her actions only strengthened this belief.  Even after he died, she was angry with him for not leaving her money, the kind of money that would allow her to travel the world by cruise ship and gamble along the way.

She’s so evasive that when ever I have confronted her either I’ve come out looking like an ass or she’s flipped the whole thing around.  And I leave even more upset.  I’m very direct, and I just don’t deal with most women well because they just are not.  To top it off, she’s Japanese, and I’ve come away, especially after living in Honolulu, HI, with a bit of racism for the Japanese culture. The passive aggressive mentality is just something I do not know how to handle.

My Montanan family taught me that your word is your word, and it’s the only thing you have. So I trust people, and deal with people along those lines, and for someone to talk out of both sides of their mouth, again and again, well… I’m at a loss.  And angry.  And full of rage.  And full of unforgiveness.

I know what I need to do: forgive.  But I just don’t know how.  Part of me just doesn’t want to. How do I overcome this part? She destroyed my father, I don’t feel like I can forgive that, but I don’t want to let her destroy anyone else. I need to forgive, so that the stain of my unforgiveness doesn’t hurt me. God will forgive me anything, so how can I in good conscious  not forgive someone else?

The parable below is something I’ve meditated on. It gives me strength and comfort. Life isn’t about me, but it is about how I treat others. With all the flaws and imperfections I have, it would be unconscionable for me to ignore how God is calling me to treat others. It’s ok for me to be upset and hurt, but it is not ok for me to hold on to the unforgiveness I have.

Matthew 18:23-25

23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a human king who wished to settle accounts with his attendants.

24 When he began the accounting, one was brought to him who owed him 10,000 talents [probably about $10,000,000],

25 And because he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and his children and everything that he possessed, and payment to be made.

26 So the attendant fell on his knees, begging him, Have patience with me and I will pay you everything.

27 And his master’s heart was moved with compassion, and he released him and forgave him [cancelling] the debt.

28 But that same attendant, as he went out, found one of his fellow attendants who owed him a hundred denarii [about twenty dollars]; and he caught him by the throat and said, Pay what you owe!

29 So his fellow attendant fell down and begged him earnestly, Give me time, and I will pay you all!

30 But he was unwilling, and he went out and had him put in prison till he should pay the debt.

31 When his fellow attendants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and told everything that had taken place to their master.

32 Then his master called him and said to him, You contemptible and wicked attendant! I forgave and cancelled all that [great] debt of yours because you begged me to.

33 And should you not have had pity and mercy on your fellow attendant, as I had pity andmercy on you?

34 And in wrath his master turned him over to the torturers (the jailers), till he should pay all that he owed.

35 So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.