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Category: God

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.

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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.

How to Praise God During Hardship

This is really difficult to do

It is a challenge to praise God during your hardships. Life is hard. When it starts to rain, how do we respond?

I’ve been fighting depression for about a year now. Things seem horrible even when they aren’t. I’m a homicide survivor. Maybe that was the trigger. I am living apart from my wife and family. Maybe that’s it.

Read More: My Son was Murdered by his Mother

I know that there is a God. I know He wants the best for me. I know that He answers prays according to His will. He doesn’t always give us what we pray. When He does not, it is because He has a good reason. We may not know the reason until later. We may not know the reason until we go to heaven.

I want my story to help at least one other person out there. I have faith that it will.

But that was five years ago. What do I do right now? My life is still far from perfect.

Praise Him in the Storm

My wife asked me why I don’t write about my experience? My response is that my life wasn’t a triumphant “success” yet. But then I realized that “success” might not happen. Maybe it is “successful” right now. Maybe not in the ways of the world. Maybe in the ways of God.

Jesus tells us many, many times that the life of a Christian is not easy. Just the opposite, He tells us that our lives will have many problems. Have an honest conversation with any Christian you know. If you scratch the surface, you will find your share of problems.

We are here for each other. We can and should share each other’s burden.

For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

Ecclesiastes 4:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

Sometimes I have to stop and think of my blessings. What successes do I have?

  • My health. I’ve experienced life in a hospital bed. It is not fun. Some people have to live in a hospital bed. I feel pity for them and I am blessed to not be one of them anymore.

  • A big, loving family. A loving relationship is more important than money. The older I get, the more I appreciate this. I will hug my wife and kids again someday. I will hug the son I lost again someday. I have family here in the US that I can hug anytime.

  • A roof over my head. I am not “rich” financially, but I have the things I need. I am not homeless. I have a bed and warmth. There is a saying in The Philippines:

    A small blanket is better than no blanket.

  • American citizenship. Some people literally wait multiple years to enter the US. Some are so desperate that they enter the US illegally. This comes with a whole list of blessings, many of which we take for granted. It usually takes a trip overseas to really understand how good we have it. It really is true that the poorest American still has more than most of the world. That is sad, really.

If we take the time to stop and think, we have many reasons to rejoice. This is “counting our blessings.” We can talk it out with a friend, or write it out in a journal.

The really hard thing is that depression ignores all the good things, and one really bad thing can wipe out 10 really good things. I was not counting my blessings when my son was killed.

God is in Your Praise

When something bad is happening, we really want and need Him to take action. He is mighty and powerful. We need Him.

Is there something that seems impossible? Is there something that only He can do? That’s where He works best.

When the Israelites went into battle, they went first with praise. When we praise Him, He is there. Do you want a miracle? Do you want Him to witness the situation and perhaps take action? God inhabits the praises of His people. Do you believe that? I do.

When Lazarus died, was there anyone other than God who could have raised him? Jesus waited for Lazarus to die before he went to visit. He said He was doing this so that the glory of God could be displayed for all.

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”

John 11:40-42 English Standard Version (ESV)

The apostles were instruments in raising the dead, but the ultimate power comes from God.

Praise Him.

Your praise meets several different needs at once. God is good at multitasking:

  • Reminding you that you need Him and nothing is too difficult for Him.
  • Reminding you of your blessings.
  • Bringing His power to your current situation.

Is Life Hard? Praise Him

This is difficult to do. It is a practice. I have to remind myself to praise Him in storms and difficulties. We are told to rejoice in our problems and difficulties. I am still trying to work this one out.

But you don’t have to understand the commands of God to follow them and receive His blessings. We only have to obey. He tells us to rejoice during tough times. Therefore, I practice rejoicing during hard time.

When things are at their most bleak, when you need a miracle, that is the time to reach out to God. That is the time for praise.