Is it hard for you to admit when you are wrong?
Are you sometimes unaware that you need to ask for forgiveness?
I must admit I’ve failed at forgiving myself and others in the past. That’s why I love my church and the accountability it gives me. We gather once a week in someone’s home to enjoy fellowship and a Bible study. A few weeks ago while I was preparing for the discussion, I came to an exercise in my study guide, Freeway: A Not-So-Perfect Way to Freedom. The instructions asked me to draw a picture of someone or something you need to forgive.
At first, I was at a loss and just stared at the page. Finally, I drew a stick figure to represent myself. I wrote, “I forgive myself for not always loving or accepting myself as a gay Christian, for the self-inflicted pain, for judging my friends, for being prideful…” I decided that was a good place to start.
For some reason, I couldn’t turn the page. God must have known there was someone else I needed to forgive. Then the face of my friend Debbie came to mind. I had been upset with her over a situation which I’m sure she had no clue about. Since I was ashamed to talk to her, I just let it simmer inside for three years. I realized the need to ask for forgiveness in order for God to open up more miracles in my life.
God Performs Miracles But Not Always the Way We Expect
The panic-struck family quickly rushed to the hospital. With tears rolling down their faces, each one said their final goodbyes. The doctor told Debbie that her husband might not make it through the night. Numerous tubes and wires hung from him and a respirator assisted his breathing. His heart had failed, and there was no transplant available.
The family gathered around his hospital bed and held each other’s hands tightly, only releasing to wipe the tears from their eyes. One by one, each offered up a prayer of thanksgiving and healing. They stayed as long as they were able, singing songs of praise. They loved God and felt His presence in the room with them, providing comfort and peace as each hour went by. Before leaving the room, each person leaned in and kissed their dad on his cheek and told him how much they loved him.
After a long, stressful night, the family retired expecting to make funeral arrangements the next day. Surprisingly, their prayers for a miracle were answered and they rejoiced and gave thanks to God. Jeff continued to improve, and eventually he received a new heart. He and Debbie celebrated and shared the good news with everyone. God provided them with speaking engagements, traveling from church to church, to share their miracle. Many hearts were touched.
Being Honest About How You Feel and Forgiving Yourself Sets You Free
I was jealous. Although I wanted to be happy for Debbie’s family, I was silently angry. I was mad at God for taking my husband Barry to heaven instead of healing him on earth. We did everything they did! My family and friends had gathered to pray and fast. We even anointed Barry with oil. We did all the right things for God to do a miracle too, but cancer took his life.
It was in the midst of my grief when Debbie’s husband was admitted to the hospital with a life-threatening prognosis. Expecting her husband would soon be reunited with my beloved Barry in heaven, Debbie whispered in his ear to tell Barry that I missed him.
In the meantime, I was getting prepared to guide Debbie on this journey called widowhood. I was planning to give her one of my comfort bags. Inside were things to comfort a widow when there was suddenly no one else around. I included a journal to write letters to her husband, a devotion book about grief, a CD with soothing hymns, and a cloth handkerchief because tissues run out. I knew these small items would continue to comfort her long after the flowers faded. However, I never got to share this gift with her because God performed a miracle and healed her husband.
Debbie was rightfully overjoyed and celebrated her miracle. She talked often about her husband’s recovery and shared their testimony on Facebook. Inside I wanted to cry out, “Stop! Don’t you realize I prayed for a miracle too, but my husband died?” Instead of talking through my feelings with her, I chose to close the door on our friendship. She had what I wanted – someone to love, to travel with, and to date.
No Matter How Long It Takes To Forgive, It’s Always The Right Thing To Do
It was during the Bible study that I realized I needed to forgive Debbie. I blamed her for my loss. I had been filled with so much resentment that I could not sincerely celebrate with her. Even the mention of her good news rubbed me wrong. I was also mad at God because I wanted Debbie’s miracle. I wanted my husband to live. What I came to realize was that God did perform a miracle for Barry. He had healed him in heaven instead of allowing him to suffer longer on earth.
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
For me to become truly free, I needed to make amends with my friend and forgive myself for not accepting the miracle God had performed for both men.
I am thankful the Bible study opened my eyes to my need to forgive. When we harbor things inside, we lose sight of the daily miracles God provides for us. The act of forgiveness was like taking the log out of my eye so I could see the miracle for Barry that was there all along.
I have sent a short note to my friend explaining my actions and regret hoping she will forgive me.
The longer we wait to forgive, the longer we stay blind to the miracles that are all around us. When we’re able to forgive immediately, then God’s grace will show up right in front of us. Forgiveness pulls people together, draws us closer to God, and helps us stay open to God’s blessings.
Is there someone from your past that needs your forgiveness? Send them a note or give them a call today.
Did you enjoy this post? The social share links below make it quick and easy to share with your friends. I appreciate you sharing my posts with others. Thanks!