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Month: February 2020

Wizard Battle of Vengeance

Time of Faith (Book One) part #003: An epic science fiction/fantasy, time travel adventure

Char edged forward through the darkness, sandals crunching on rocks. A thick fog surrounded him, hot and clammy.

His staff flickered with a dim green glow, enough to see by. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. His stomach clenched tight. His mouth was dry. Was he panting?

Char stopped walking and bowed his head. He concentrated on slowing his racing heartbeat. He had to control his emotions.

Master Joseph echoed in his head, “Master your emotions or they will master you.”

He wished he could hear those words again. His eyes began to well up with water. He swallowed and brushed a hand over his face.

Breathe, Char. Breathe. He brought his mind into focus. He had to stay in control. He imagined leaves swirling in a fall breeze. He imagined the bending of grass in a clearing.

His breathing became even and strong.

The glow of Char’s staff intensified.

You should get out while you can.

Char’s eyebrows rose. It was his voice, yet it was not his thoughts. It was the Overlord.

Char waved his hand in a small circle and spoke one word, “Clear.”

The fog around him fled. As it went, Char’s mind became clear again. Fear scurried away from him. He pressed his lips together. It was a spell of fear.

“Resist evil and it will flee.” The old saying made him smile.

Amusement turned to anger. The Overlord had killed his master, and Char had come to seek vengeance. He raised his voice to the darkness, “Enough games, Overlord. I’m not leaving. You’ll have to show yourself.”

The voice in Char’s head laughed. It was Char’s laugh, but not his. It made him feel like he was laughing at himself.

Is it bravery or stupidity that makes you come here? Do you think you can command me in my own house? Very well. If you will not leave, I will make myself known. I hate to stab a man in the back.

On the walls of the cave, torches sputtered. One after another they burst into flames. The room filled with heat and light. Char held his staff tight.

He was standing at the entrance to a huge throne room. The tunnel behind him had walls of stone. Ahead were four walls of glittering white marble. Each wall held torches set in ornate golden fixtures. The fire lights caused something in the back of the room to glitter. Char’s eyes pulled to the stacks and stacks of gold. It was a pile fit for a dragon. There were coins, goblets, flatware, jewelry, medallions, and heavy-looking bars. Dotted amongst the loot were jewels of every color, in every imaginable size. The sight made his eyes boggle.

In the middle of the treasure sat a fat, golden throne. Atop the throne, the Overlord lounged. He smirked and waved with a gold scepter.

“Have you come to join your master?”

The Overlord’s dress was dramatic, like a king—purple robes and fur-trimmed cape. Long sleeves draped thick over each armrest, pooling on the bed of treasure. His curly blonde hair coiled and bounced on both shoulders. He had a handlebar moustache that curved upward on both ends.

The Overlord’s ornate scepter emitted a black glow that pulled at Char’s soul. That must be the Overlord’s power source. Char could see magic auras—it dripped magic.

Master Joseph had warned him, “If you see the Overlord, you won’t know if he is friend or foe.”

The Overlord was a dark magician of the highest order—a mercenary for hire. He’d been fighting wars on both sides of the fence for years.

The Overlord stared hard at Char, considering. The words spoke into Char’s mind again.

Now I can see it. You have power, young one. Someday you might have even been a match for me. You still lack the necessary skill.

It was not smart to come here. That was foolish.

The Overlord cleared his throat. When he spoke, his voice was haughty and bored. “I grow tired of always speaking with my mind. It is good to exercise now and again, is it not?”

Char said nothing.

The Overlord filled the void, “I spend most of my time going from place to place, finding creatures to enslave. I make them do my work. The holders of my contracts reward me generously.” He motioned to the pile of riches around him.

Char pressed his lips together.

The Overlord continued, “There’s a trick to controlling creatures, you know. Did your master ever tell you?”

He leaned forward in his seat as if he were reaching the best part of his story. “Your name is Char, right?” He waved a hand, “You don’t have to tell me. I could see that plain as day in your mind. No first name. No last name. Only Char. And it’s not a nickname? You should guard your young mind. You don’t know who might use what they find there against you.”

The Overlord narrowed his eyes, staring at Char. “You see, I must know a creature’s true name if I am going to command it. Allow me to demonstrate. Char. I command you to approach my throne.”

Before he knew what was happening, Char was gliding forward. He hadn’t meant to and realized in horror that he could not make himself stop. He tried to pull back, but his legs wouldn’t listen. He moved forward, straight-legged, like a stiff soldier.

“This isn’t much of a compulsion. I’m not even trying. You should be able to break my control.” He tsked his tongue. “So untrained.” He widened his smile, exposing yellow teeth.

Char squeezed his eyes shut, concentrating hard. He slowed his breathing. He found his core and focused on it. He was one with everything and everything was one with him. He felt the Overlord in his mind. His thoughts were like fingers exploring his consciousness. He was playing games.

Char pulled his mind back and pushed the presence away. Char stopped moving forward—back in control of his body.

“There,” said the Overlord. “That wasn’t so hard, was it? You could train to do what I do.” He waggled a finger. “But you aren’t here for a lesson. I smell a silly need for vengeance.”

Char ground his teeth. “I have no times for games, Overlord. I am here to kill you. I have all the power I need to get the job done.”

The Overlord sat back in his throne and placed his hand on his chest, “Oh, dear! If I had any feelings, they would hurt.”

He cracked his knuckles. “Were you not paying attention, boy? You are nothing. I am the one with the power here. I could turn you and your empty threats to ashes in an instant. I could make you bow to me and pledge your unwavering devotion. I could destroy you with a blink. I could even make you kill yourself and save me the trouble.”

He let out a long sigh. “The problem is no one has paid me to kill you. I have a strict code about such things. If I start giving away killings for free, well, that’s just bad business.”

The Overlord smiled at him over clasped hands. “Besides, if I wanted you dead, I would have stoked the fire hotter when I burned your parents.”

It was like a punch in the stomach. Char felt his magic rushing to him even before he called for it. Tightness gripped his chest, like the world crashing in around him. His vision grew black at the edges. He hefted his staff high above his head. “You killed my parents! You made me an orphan! Die, Overlord!”

The air around Char sizzled and snapped. An explosion rocked the walls. Bright light surged from his staff, streaking through the air in a sharp, jagged arc. Char could feel magic coursing through him, burning hotter than his own anger. Thunder rocked Char’s eardrums. The bolt of lightning struck, pinning the Overlord to his throne. White energy flashed across his muscles as they convulsed. His body thrashed under the current.

Hot tears streamed from Char’s eyes. “You took everything from me!” he channeled his anger into the lightening, making it burn hotter. The Overlord’s robes burst into flames. He thought he could hear his flesh sizzle and pop. Char clenched his jaw as he squeezed as much power into the bolt as he could.

And then it was gone. Char stood panting, hot tears flowing down his cheeks.

From the cloud of smoke, the Overlord started to laugh. It was a deep guffaw that turned Char’s stomach.

The Overlord began to pat out his flaming robe. He stopped after he realized there wasn’t much left to save. Smoke drifted up from the remains of fabric in lazy circles.

Still smiling, the Overlord leaned forward. He lifted a hand, displaying a gaudy ring in the shape of a dragon’s head.

“What kind of mercenary would I be if any random wizard could vaporize me with a lightning bolt? See this ring? No creature from this realm can ever harm me.”

He gazed at the ring. “Too bad I had to kill the witch after she crafted it. You can’t risk that kind of protection falling into the wrong hands.”

He looked down at his smoking clothes. “I am afraid that you have ruined my robes. It is so hard to get a good tailor to travel to the top of this mountain. I suppose I deserved it with that whole thing about burning your parents. Business is business. I hope we can move past this.”

Char opened and closed his mouth. He was in over his head. He had depleted a good deal of his limited magic out of anger. It would take much more than a lightning bolt to defeat him. Was it even possible? Char gulped. His mind whirled, trying to invent an escape.

The Overlord fixed his gaze on Char. “We should start over, young man. Why don’t you sit down?” It was a question, but Char felt the power of compulsion pulling him down. A plain wooden chair appeared behind him. Char told himself he was choosing to sit down.

He tried to banish the Overlord from his mind as he did before, but this time the control was stronger.

“Even though you have not been too polite, I will still give you another chance, Char. There is much I could teach you. I have been meaning to take an apprentice.”

“You.” Char faltered, licked his lips, and started again, “You killed my family and my master. Why would I ever work for you?”

“When the Union wants someone dead, I’m not going to argue. Their gold was quite impressive.”

Char felt despondent. Everything was gone. What could he do? Was there enough magic for him to do anything? He felt a wave of despair. He felt dizzy.

He frowned and berated himself. Why had he come here? What had he expected?

Anger began to boil again. It nibbled at the side of his perception. It dripped into his lungs. It tightened his chest. His master had said that he could tap into the limitless fount of the earth. There were mighty rivers of magic below him. He had purpose and desire.

Char imagined his mind was a drill—going deep into the Earth. He didn’t feel any magic at first, and then he sensed warmth. He continued to dive with his mind. , he felt the familiar warmth. He was back in business. He narrowed his eyes as he looked up at the Overlord.

The Overlord couldn’t continue this way. He killed and took. His reign must end. The words of another spell played across Char’s mind. The head of his staff burst into flames.

The Overlord shook his head and tsked again, “What a waste. Did not we just discuss the ring?” He sighed. “Very well. I can tell that you are not going to change your mind. Learning is not your strong suit.” The Overlord stood and lifted his scepter. “Remember that I gave you an alternative. I have other matters to attend to. You are wasting precious time.”

An aura of magic surrounded the Overlord. It expanded outward, changing from black to deep purple and finishing with a bright red. Char could feel the wave of magic as it washed over him. It seemed familiar. He leaned back, closing his eyes.

The ground began to rumble.

The Overlord continued. “I will make an exception of you. Since you are keeping me away from making money, your death will allow me to make money. I will take that as payment for your contract. Congratulations! You earned yourself a free slaying!” he laughed. “That was funnier to me than I am sure it will be for you.”

He continued, “I will make your death something extraordinary. I mean, look at you, you have come all this way. I have so many creatures at my disposal. Most of them are strong enough to kill you. You do not want an every-day death, do you?”

He tapped his chin with a finger. “Hmmm.” Then he nodded. “Yes, that will do. Only the best for my houseguest. May I introduce you to my favorite demon,” He chuckled again. “For your sake, I wouldn’t struggle. It will be over faster.”

Char could see something appearing in the air before him—a sliver of light yawning open. It sliced the air until it connected floor to ceiling. It stretched wide, letting in a flood of light. Char had seen this before. That’s why the magic seemed familiar. The Overlord was opening a Gateway to another world and summoning one of his minions. He said it was a demon? That was very non-specific. Any creature from another world could was a demon.

The Overlord smiled, satisfied. He stood and waved his hands in the air. A gilded door shimmered into existence. The door swung open at his approach. He strode through. The door closed behind him. The doorway faded again into shadows.

Char looked back to the Gateway. It was continuing to widen. He didn’t have much time.

His mind shouted at him to flee. Rising with shaking legs, he half turned to run. Again, the words of his master stopped him dead in his tracks.

“No magic is stronger than other magic. The strongest fire is defeated by air or water. For every spell, there is a counter. If the magic cannot be overcome, try moving the target.

Char closed his eyes and took a deep breath to center himself. He had trained for this. He had tapped into a new magic source, so he had his full book of spells at his disposal.

“Ok, think, think, think.” He ignored the sound of rushing wind as the Gateway connected to another world. He planted his staff on the ground ahead of him, rolling it between his palms. The wood ground on the floor, making a small ring of dirt.

He visualized the rocks underneath him. He drew upon his new magic source like pulling in a breath. His staff started to shine with brilliant light, growing warm under his fingers. Char opened his eyes and began to chant words of magic.

Char channeled magic into the head of his staff, which was still ablaze. He added static charge to the fire. Each impact would deliver a bolt of shock along with a burst of flame. He didn’t know how many charges it held. He hoped it was enough.

Turning his attention to the other end of his staff, he channeled more magic. The wood flickered. Ice crackled as it covered the end of the staff. A touch of that side of the staff would freeze a target solid.

With those two spells finished, Char readied his mind to cast a spell of vapor concussion. The spell would attack with an invisible hammer of air.

He needed to see how vulnerable this demon would be to the elements. He had fire, shock, ice, and air. If he had enough time, he would also try earth.

Char gazed hard at the Gateway, staff gripped tight.

A low howl drifted through the air.

In the Gateway, a shadow appeared. It was man-sized at first, but as Char watched, it grew larger and larger. Soon it was double man size. A single hoof emerged to plant itself on the stone floor with a hollow click.

Don’t Tell Me How Much Money You’re Making as a Writer

It’s starting to get kind of silly. Every high-paid writer is telling you how much money they are making, and they’re stupid rich.

Must be nice.

Wouldn’t you like that, too?

Sure, they say. It’s easy. Just get used to making next to nothing and write every day for three years.

Easy, right?

Something doesn’t quite add up here.

The average reader was looking for an easy answer here. From what I’ve read so far, there is no easy answer.

You better work.


I would much rather read an article with a non click-bait headline. I am just as vulnerable to the click-bait headline as the next person. “How I Made $8000 Writing” gets a lot more clicks than “I Made $8000 Writing This Month and it Only Took Three Years!” But perhaps the latter is more honest.


I was having a conversation with a friend about stand up comics. They perform night after night for little or no pay. After several years, you have Kevin Hart. This might be a “Last Person Standing” situation. If he’s willing to perform his art for years on little or no pay, he must be good, right?

I wondered, “Is there an art that I would be willing to do for years on end for little or no pay?”

You got me. I’d write for years on little or no pay. I’ve written a novel, but that was in spurts. I’ve never sat down every day and pounded at the keyboard. Now I am. Right now, my earnings are pathetic, but I will continue to report them every month.

I’m not going into a three-year experiment to see what will happen.

I just like to write.

Augmented, Super Slow-Motion Battle

Time of Faith (Book One) part 002: An epic science fiction/fantasy adventure

The tendons of Kerr’s fingers tightened. Hands tightened into fists. They felt heavy—ready to bludgeon.

His weight shifted forward. He was ready to launch forward. His legs were springs screaming for release.

The suit performed a rapid emergency system check, flashing words too quick to read on Kerr’s LENS. One by one, his muscles tensed and relaxed. Calves. Quads. Biceps. Back. Shoulders. Stomach. Chest. Each burned with potential energy.

Kerr’s nostrils constricted and his lips pressed together. Thousands of microscopic oxites tumbled into his bloodstream. Kerr no longer felt the need to breathe.

Drugs began to trickle into his brain. Endorphins began to fire. Switches began to flip. He felt good. He felt unstoppable.

Kerr’s universe exploded.

Time stopped as a flurry of activity hijacked his mind.

Everything was brighter. Crisper. Louder.

Kerr could almost taste every passing moment. It was time to move, Move, MOVE!

Braun held a frozen smile, teeth parted. He was saying something, but Kerr couldn’t wait.

His peripheral vision absorbed the position of everything around him. They surrounded him. Braun ahead. Blanc right. Neither with gun drawn.

His real problem was Murphy and Johansson. Both had their guns trained on him. Johansson almost had a look of glee on his face. He seemed eager to get off a few shots.

These were trained soldiers. His movements would bring an instant response. Even with time “stopped” he could attack one, but not both.

He could do a lot of damage wearing the suit, but he wasn’t a soldier. The suit was bulletproof, but bullets would still knock him around. How long until somebody got a headshot?

Enough thought, it was time to act.

Kerr launched toward Braun in a blur of motion. He grabbed Braun by the shoulders and spun him around to be a shield. His trained soldiers held their fire. They ran toward him in slow-motion.

Kerr’s kicked up with his knee, burying deep in Braun’s stomach.

Another message from the suit flashed on his LENS.


Kerr’s eyes widened. A dark shape was coming from the right. It was Hendrikson. He rocketed toward Kerr with a combat knife in his hands. He was fast! Everyone appeared to be moving through water, but not Hendrikson.

Kerr realized with horror that he was up against an enhanced soldier.

Kerr fell sideways, repositioning Braun before Hendrikson slammed into him. The knife swung wide, trying to strike behind the colonel. Kerr continued to roll, pulling both Braun and now Hendrikson with him. As he landed, he planted both feet on Braun and kicked.

Thank you, judo lessons!

His legs fired like pistons, launching Braun and Hendrikson into the air.

Kerr planted his palms and pushed off. Twisting like a cat, he landed ready for his next maneuver.

The suit augmented his movements. That wasn’t one of his judo lessons.

Johansson rolled onto the ground, getting into a better firing position. Murphy was lifting his gun to get a lock. Major Blanc pivoting her gun.

Kerr smiled. He wouldn’t be in the same place by the time they could fire.

Braun and Hendrikson tumbled through the air. Hendrikson wasn’t wasting the motion. Using Braun, he swung around to face Kerr. His mouth curled in a dark smile. The knife was gone. A gun was in its’ place. Kerr locked eyes with him. Hendrikson winked and squeezed the trigger. The gun erupted flames.

He watched as a bullet drilled through the air.

Without realizing what was happening, he had done a small forward roll. Three bullets hit the ground where he had been moments before. He twisted, getting his legs under him.

Using the ground as a springboard, he launched himself forward in a run. He spotted his silver briefcase out of the corner of his eye. He scooped it up as he ran.

Another short burst of bullets belched behind him. Kerr risked a look back as he ran. Colonel Braun crumpled against a concrete pillar.

Hendrikson hit the pillar with both feet, bent his legs, and pushed away like a coiled snake. He hit the ground running. His gun continued to erupt fire.

Johansson and Blanc began firing their weapons but they were firing at the spot where Kerr had been. Now he was a running machine. An inferno of energy coursed through his legs.

Clouds of dust surrounded him as bullets chewed up the floor. He kept his head low. He could feel bullets impacting back and legs, but he ignored the pressure.

He dodged right, rounding a concrete pillar, and kept running. For a split second, the bullets no longer found him.

He had gained and lost the element of surprise. A team of trained soldiers were pursuing him. It was laughable to think he could escape. What was his end game?

Kerr dashed left and right. Bullets shadowed his every step.

He ducked behind another pillar but the bullets kept coming. Hendrikson was now running parallel to Kerr.

He dove into another forward roll. As he moved, he twisted his body to face the opposite direction. His feet braced, stopping his forward momentum. His hands launched him off the ground and he pulled himself forward like a monkey—feet over hands. Springing up, he was running again.

Hendrikson cursed as he stopped his sprint and changed direction, tripping and skidding.

Tears streamed from Kerr’s squinting eyes as he flew forward. His path was taking him toward the other soldiers. He ducked into a skid and shifted directions again. Ahead of him, Kerr could see a light—the light of the Portal.

He ran toward the light.

The ground around him came to life again. A flurry of pebbles and dust shadowed his every move. A shot struck the back of Kerr’s leg with enough force to make him miss a step. He stumbled forward, almost falling. The suit righted his steps before the final tumble, letting him race ahead once more.

The Portal was now in full sight.

There was nothing but white light through the Portal. Kerr skidded to a halt. It was no longer connected to the Time Dock. Who knew where it would lead?

The bullets behind him ceased. Hendrikson had him trapped.

“Game’s over, hero,” he chuckled. His gun smoked. It was no longer pointed at Kerr. There was no point, “There was nowhere to go, anyway. The only way you’re getting a cure for that virus is going back home. It’s either ‘join us’ or die.” He shrugged. “Your choice”

Only three steps.

That was the distance between Kerr and the Portal. Inside the opening was nothingness—swirling white lights and squirming fog. No one knew what it was like. No one had ever returned.

Kerr began running.

One foot down. One foot up.

“Stop!” yelled Henderikson.

Kerr ignored him. One foot down. One foot up. He grimaced. Last foot down. Last foot up.

Kerr plunged into the Portal and the whiteness swallowed him whole.

Valentine for my LDL Family

My video Valentine for my beautiful wife in Rome and our family in The Philippines. ❤

It’s Valentine’s Day–a celebration of love to all. I am in a long-distance marriage with my beautiful wife, Maria Luisa Vispo Dela Cruz. She is a chef living in Rome, Italy. That is thirteen hours to the east.

She is working to support her family, who lives thirteen hours to the west, in The Philippines. I am sending my love all around the world. Over in The Philippines…

  • Mom & Dad ❤
  • Erika & Gelo & Andy ❤.
  • Niko ❤
  • Karl ❤
  • Jessica (living with Mom in Rome) ❤
  • Alyssa (my young star) ❤
  • MJ (my young computer hacker) ❤

I want to send my love out to all migrant overseas worker. I appreciate all the fathers and mothers who are working hard to give their children a better life. Your sacrifice is beautiful and appreciated.

Maria Luisa Vispo Dela Cruz

Last, but certainly not least, I want to wish a Happy Valentine’s Day to my love, Maria Luisa Vispo Dela Cruz (Malou). I miss you, baby. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I am very fond of you ❤ Being apart is hard, but we will be together before you know it, and it will be wonderful.

Pain comes in the night, but joy comes in the morning.

I look forward to kissing your lips on your 100th birthday ❤❤❤

God bless, everyone 💌

Medium Paid Me $0.40

And I’m thrilled.

Medium sent me a handy email and text that they deposited money in my account. Yeah! They paid me $0.40. Boo!

I actually feel pretty good about it.


you might be saying

I am playing the long game. All of us are. When I speak of “us” I am talking about writers. I am a writer. There’s a bunch of us here on Medium. This is my platform of choice. I subscribe to their content for a whopping $5 a month.

Ok, so back to being thrilled about 40 cents?!

My biggest article earned all of those whopping $0.40 and got 210 views. It was posted on January 24th. So it’s only been up for a few days. Interesting, it’s already earned $0.33 this month, and it’s only six days into February.

Read the article…
My Son was Killed by his Mother

In that same span, I have gone from zero to 85 followers. It’s not thousands, but it’s a 850% increase. I’ll take it!

That gets to the heart of why I am thrilled. I can look back at the start and see the rate of improvement. The month before, I received $0.22 from Medium. That means that my earnings have almost doubled. It’s an increase of 82%!

What’s more, this is a passive income source. I put in the time to write my articles, and they will keep earning until the end of time. It isn’t much right now, but the snowball is building…

Of course, this isn’t truly passive. Content grows stale over time. In 2021, people will likely dismiss the article as “last year’s news.” That stings because the article describes my experience with the murder of my son. But, what are you gonna do? I try to keep my content current.

The Power of the Snowball

Maybe some of my other articles will start to get traction. That would be cool. So far I’ve gotten mostly zero reads. There’s some freedom in that. I can write whatever the heck I want and not think about anybody else.

Yeah, let’s look on the bright side.

If I make $0.80 next month then I’ll be even better. That will be “proof” to me that this Medium thing might work. If it doubles each month, in a few short months it will equal real money!

Remember the lesson about compound interest. Would you rather have $1 million dollars, or a penny that doubles every day one year? The answer, of course, is the penny. The greater lesson is patience. It is only on day 28 that the doubling-penny beats the million dollars. From there, the results are staggering. At the end, the doubling-penny is $10,000,000!

The person in our magical example had to have some serious patience. For 27 days, he or she had a raw deal. Only the wise would have held firm.

M. W. McCabe’s screenshot of a spreadsheet, because he’s a huge nerd

I’m a nerd. I like my spreadsheets. I just ran a theoretical “hopeful earnings” sheet. I assumed (hopefully) that my earning will double each month. It is decent for year one, but crazy cool in year two. I don’t want to jinx anything by actually giving the number, but it’s more money than I’ve ever seen in one place. Ever.

Expect one of these here earning reports each month for the foreseeable future.

February target: $0.88!

Matt McCabe
February 6, 2020

Matt writes on a variety of topics on Medium and his own blog. He writes about Weight Loss, Movies, Travel, Writing, Serial Fiction, Grief/Trauma, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Productivity, and Life Hacks. He is a christian on The Way. He can be found on his blog:

Click here to join Matt McCabe’s monthly digest.

Forgiving the Unforgivable

God can give you rest

I have been hurt bad.

I did not deserve it.

It was something that happened to me and not because of a decision I had made.

Read More…
My Son was Murdered by my Wife

I have joined a local support group, The Parents of Murdered Children (POMC). I have heard many, many horrible stories. They understand how horrible my story is, as well.

But I have also witnessed the continued physical damage that stress puts on the survivor—cancers, tumors, sleep difficulty, digestion problems and other “strange” issues that doctors cannot diagnose.

I think the root of these problems is anger and unforgiveness.

By no means should you tell a homicide survivor that they must forgive their assailant. This is a horrible thing to say. Anger can, and usually is, a healthy part of the grief process.

How did Jesus put it? Oh yes.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Jesus Christ, Matthew 7:3 (NIV)

Saying such a horrible thing will drive survivors away from the church, and that is something they dearly need right now. But perhaps they need to find a more loving and understanding church.

A church should be where you feel at home, loved, and welcome.

But I wanted to tell homicide victims that they can choose to forgive and that letting go helped me. Every journey is different. I am not telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. You may feel horrific anger now that will soften over the years. You may never forgive. That is your right.

Forgiveness Has a Bad Rap

There is a misconception about forgiveness. Some think we are saying the sin is all right. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If we sin against God, nothing will ever make that all right.

There is nothing the perpetrator could do that would make the crime right. No matter what the court system decides. No matter what restitution she pays. She could go away for the rest of her life, but that will not bring back my son.

Rather, forgiveness is about debt. It is balancing the scale. When we ask God for forgiveness, he counts us as righteous. He doesn’t make us righteous. That ship has sailed.

There is nothing she could do to repay me, so why am I still holding this anger? It only hurts me, not her.

They say that hatred is like drinking poison and hoping that other person dies.

So what do we do?

If you have been hurt, you have been given a rotten fruit. You didn’t want it, but you didn’t have a choice. It was given to you. Now, what do you do with it? That is up to you.

You can eat it—stuff it down deep inside—but that will only make you sick.

Or you can choose to forgive. Let God take that spoiled fruit of anger and hatred. Let him clean you up and remake you.

Tell God, “I have anger built up in me against [person] but I do not want it. I choose to forgive her. The debt is gone. Please take it away and heal me.”

Believe me, I did not come to this point right away. I was good and angry for many years. My hatred burned hot.

I think a little bit of that is healthy.

I had deep, deep love. That love was taken away—not lost.

Now my love is broken and incomplete. For the rest of my life.

It was in desperation that I prayed that prayer. What could it hurt? Why do we turn to prayer as a last resort? I try to make prayer the first resort now.

What happened next?

Instantly, the burden of emotion was taken away. I was still sad—that will never go away. But I no longer felt the burden of hatred. That yolk was taken from my shoulders immediately.

From that point, my heart has been softened to the plight of others. I am more understanding of the anger and hatred of others. Someday, they might forgive—or not. What will be will be.

Don’t forgive because they deserve it. They do not deserve it.

Forgive for you. You deserve it.

You are in a prison cell, but the door to the cell is open. You can leave any time you want. You are choosing to hold on to the anger and stay in the cell.

This is sad to me.

You are being victimized again.

I hope that you someday choose life and freedom.