I remember seeing an Oprah program several years ago where people were forgiving other people. Not that Oprah is anyone who I would recommend watching regularly, but occassionally she has a good program. This was one of them. I watched it because I wanted to see where she would take this topic. I was pleasantly surprised at what happened. I won’t recap the entire show, but I will say that one thing Oprah was trying to get through to her audience is that forgiveness is not for the one who is being forgiven. No. Forgiveness is for the one showing mercy. It’s for you. It’s for me. It is the act of forgiving that will set you free. Completely and utterly free.
How do I know?
You read my last post in which I gave you a private glimpse into a painful past. I was only married to that man for 4 1/2 years. I was too young and too naive and once I realized what I had done it was far too late. He was much older and he knew better. Whatever his intentions, I still don’t know. It started out as a game to me. A dangerous game. Then, like the prey of a spider, I got all caught up in the web. Before I knew it I was chewed up and spit out: torn, ragged, depressed, and desperate to get away. Finally, I got away.
And then I got mad.
It took years for me to get over that relationship. So much damage had been done and I was in a protective shell I had built around myself. It took Rich quite some time to break down the wall. But he didn’t give up and I finally let him break it all down. But not just Rich — God had His glorious Hand in it the whole time. He put His Spirit into my heart and transformed that lost and hurting little smart alec girl into a strong and compassionate woman.
I am able to sit here in complete honesty without a tinge of mischief and tell you from the heart that I have forgiven that man, my ex-husband, entirely. E-n-t-i-r-e-l-y. I don’t talk about it. I don’t even know how I will tell my children about it. I would rather not, truth be told. But I’m sure someday the subject will come forth and I will have to be honest with them. Yes, mommy was married once before daddy. And it was a mistake. And it hurt mommy a great deal. And, and, and…
Forgiven. He is forgiven.
Forgiveness will set you free. That man doesn’t know that I’ve forgiven him. He doesn’t need to know. That is between me and Jesus. God knows. I know. That’s all that matters.
And I have been set F-R-E-E.
Free from the pain.
Free from the anger.
Free from the depression.
Free from the torment.
Free from the guilt.
And I have learned from it. Many great lessons. Too great to elaborate.
Forgiveness is not for the forgiven, it is for the one doing the act of forgiving. It will set you free.
May God bless the one who has hurt me. He hurts me no more; that is my blessing. And may he never hurt another.