In the tenth year of my marriage, I was betrayed by the man who had promised to love and protect me, and had given me five babies. Two and a half months later, while still trying to make sense of the infidelity, he was killed in a car accident. I spent the next several years trying to deal with my and my children’s grief. I felt overwhelmed, and angry when people told me I needed to forgive. I didn’t know how to begin to forgive and couldn’t understand what difference it made to someone who was no longer living.
Days turned into months and years, and although the grief diminished, the pain and doubt never disappeared. My questions remained. Did forgiveness mean swallowing the pain and pretending it never happened?
I prayed, passionately and desperately that God would show me how to do what seemed impossible. One morning while pleading yet again, my answer came through an unexpected messenger. I was also struggling financially, and a commercial came on the TV, one I had not seen before nor since, asking softly, “Are you bankrupt? Do you owe more than you can pay, need to have your debts forgiven?”
The simple question knocked me to my knees. With my mouth open, and no sound coming out, I could feel the pieces to the “forgiveness puzzle” beginning to fall into place. I knew what I had to do. A few days later, I made a trip to the cemetery, found the grave with the headstone that read “Beloved Husband and Father”, and poured out the pain that had held me prisoner for so many years. I listed out loud all that I had been owed: faithfulness, protection, truthfulness, etc., then spoke these life-changing words, “I realize you were bankrupt and you couldn’t ‘pay’, and I forgive any debt there was between us.” My healing started that day with something so simple, but such a struggle.
If you’re having the same struggle to forgive
- Acknowledge that a wrong was done.
- Realize that resolution can only come through releasing the other person from “repayment.”
- Accept God’s healing of the hurt that accompanies your wound.