I am learning that forgiveness is a necessity. It is hard, but it is necessary.
When you have a son or daughter who struggles with addiction, they will hurt you. It is inevitable. Right now, the pain is deep, and I am struggling. I am praying about it, and working towards forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that all the consequences of my son’s actions get erased. It still hurts, and there is still a lack of trust, but I cannot remain bitter against him.
I am finding that this is where a paradox exists. I don’t trust him. He has lied so often to cover up his addiction, that I don’t know what is truth anymore. And so I don’t believe a lot of what he says. On the other hand, I need to temper the lack of trust with forgiveness. While I need to be wary of what he tells me, I also need to LOVE him, and to continue to FORGIVE him on a daily (maybe hourly basis).
Again, this does not mean that I have to sugar coat things with him. I still need to confront him when I think he might be lying to me, but I need to do so out of a forgiving heart, and out of love.
Let me tell you from experience what an unforgiving heart does to someone. Well actually, not to just the person, but to those around you. Every time someone talks about our son, or if he calls, I have been getting very agitated. I sometimes lash out at my wife, although in my mind, I am directing my anger at my son, my wife takes the brunt of it. So the person we’re upset with, and unforgiving of doesn’t get hurt by our forgiveness. Ultimately WE are the ones that get hurt.
Here is some scripture that speaks to the importance of forgiveness.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph 4:32 (ESV)
“bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Col 3:13 (ESV)
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25 (ESV)
I take note in Mark 11:25 that the implication of NOT forgiving someone is quite serious. I believe then that God is not obligated to forgive you (me)! And in Matt 6:15 (ESV) “but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” It is much clearer here that God will NOT forgive you if you refuse to forgive others.
Forgiveness is not an easy thing, but with God’s help, we CAN forgive!
Quintin and Beth