The Redeeming Factor of Forgiveness
As I thought about the numerous blessings I’ve received this year, the one that has meant so much to me is the restoration of my relationship with my Dad. For the first six years of my life, my Dad was my hero. I would wait excitedly for him to come home from work because he always had time for me. He was a quartet singer and he would take me to his group’s rehearsals and allowed me to attend many of their concerts. Thus, I developed a deep love for gospel music at a young age.
I was six when my parents separated. I remember the confusion and questions I had during that time. Why did we move? Where was my Dad? Was this my fault? My Dad visited a few times after we moved, but as I grew through my teen years into adulthood, those memories of missed birthdays, my wedding day, and the birth of my children lingered.
Over the years, I tried to adjust to the fact that my Dad and I would never get back what we lost. But something very unexpected happened! Four years ago, my Dad was diagnosed with Dementia. Since he could no longer stay by himself, I invited him to stay with me. Initially it took some adjusting and I realized some things about myself. You see, I went from being a Daddy’s girl to having no Dad at all! I didn’t know the hurt and anger I had carried around as a result of feeling abandoned. BUT GOD! I can say, without a doubt that God knows how to take what seems to be the worst situation and cause it to work in your favor. Having to take care of my Dad caused me to come face to face with those emotions. It also made me realize that I had to forgive him. As I forgave my Dad, a peace settled into my heart.
When I made the decision to truly love him, the Holy Spirit released His power to enable me to love him with the love of God. My love and relationship with God showed me how to love him. According to Romans 5:5, “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” The God-kind of “love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong" (1 Cor. 13:5 TLB).
If you and I are going to walk in this kind of love, we are going to have to walk in forgiveness. I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know my Dad again. I am his biggest advocate!