Monday, February 18, 2013

I Choose Forgiveness

It is easier to hate than to forgive.

When someone hurts us, steals our peace of mind, or more poignantly-- injures someone we love, it is natural to want revenge. I experienced this recently... a few months ago. Like everyone who lives I have experienced un-forgiveness many times in my life. But the deepest hatred comes when someone injures our sense of what is right.

An only son should be with his father. Particularly an only son who has never been rebellious or in any way mean to his parents. A person that takes advantage of an elderly person to steal their earthly money and property are the lowest form of criminals, but when that person also turns a father against his only son... to wickedly confusingly convince him that they are the only people he can trust... and that his only child is his enemy.... that to me is an evil that is so grievous that a person should be punished!

But what so often happens in elder abuse cases... the crime is too hard to prove. The wicked person plunders bank accounts, property, anything within the home of value and then hocks everything else they can while building up the most debt possible to leave the estate bankrupt.

And all the while they keep the children or child as is the case of my dear husband through bogus lawsuits separated from the aging parent.

The agony of watching my husband face this enormous rejection, the unsettling discomfort of not being allowed into his own family home without police escort to get a suit for his father's burial clothes, and the leftover months of suffering endured every time we return to his family home to clean up the mess left by the criminal and her hordes of relatives builds deep hatred into one's soul.

I had spent every Christmas (until the past three) in that home with my husband and his family. We set up the old Lionel train around the tree. We turned the corner every holiday to the blinking lights knowing we were at his home.

I fixed his mother her last Thanksgiving meal in his family home. She enjoyed it so much she ate two plates and came to the table for the first time in almost a year after suffering horrifically from cancer and chemo. We came to the same home to see great aunts and grandparents that are no longer living over the past thirty years. We had many gatherings, reunions, celebrations and even left in the early hours of the morning for trips to the Florida beaches.

All of these precious recollections are ripped into shredded, bewildering fragments... nothing is the same. The little figurines and mementos that sat on tables and shelves for years... silly, gaudy little things... are missing. Where is the mug-shaped salt shaker or the old black and white photos in the drawer? Where is the bowl his mother stirred her chicken dressing she made without a recipe? Where are the recipe books with her handwriting and funny made up recipes like "Jane's Sloppy Joes"? Where are those brightly painted birds that hung from the shower head in the pink bathroom or the book shelf with sliding glass doors at the end of the hallway I passed for 3 decades?

It is all so foreign, unresolved, and jagged. Nothing fits in my memories' place. The pieces of the puzzle are missing and coming to terms with the death of two parents within 6 years is such a steep climb. All of the familiar markings in the path have been removed; it makes us search for new footing on a path that was well-worn.

And so, I seethed with anger.

"I hate her. I hate her. I hate him for letting her," echoed in my mind just about when our car made the regular turn up to the road of his home. The gas light -now tipping at an odd angle - in the front lawn reminds me of the fact that I will be entering disillusions - rooms of a unfunny house - rooms that have been replaced by smokes and mirrors.

 It is not his family home... it is a mirage masquerading - pretending, poorly to be what she once had been.

When I returned back to our home from this trip, I was so bothered. I was struggling so much ... I wanted to stop hating her. I just could not forgive. I knew I should simply stop hating her, but I was so mad at what she did to us! I wanted her to be punished. I knew God was in control and that he didn't want me to hate, but I had to be honest. I had been burdened with twinges of this conflict in the past few years, but most vehemently since the funeral in November.

So over the past few days I kept saying, "Oh, God. Help me! I need to forgive." But I forgot how....

In seeking God He reminded me... Lindy, who sinned more? 

Oh, yes, I remember that question from long ago... when I had learned how to forgive my abusive father.

"I am the greater sinner."

All of my sin against God these past 50 years have graciously been forgive by God. He has washed me clean and daily continues to forgive me of any sin.... millions and millions. BUT here I am, holding this woman in bondage, in a debtor's prison to me, for the few little sins she committed against me and my loved ones.

Just like in the gospel of Matthew I was forgiven and let free from my huge debt by the King but I was holding my hands around the neck of the woman who owed me such a little amount... and one that she could never repay, any more than that gigantic debt that I could never repay to God. Jesus paid my debt. It is paid in full for eternity. Now, I remember... I MUST forgive others as I have been forgiven... I must not hold them in prison. I must release them to the King... He will deal with them as He does with everyone.

It seems so simply. Some might think it is not possible that a person full of hatred can let go and release such venom, but I did. I hate her no more. I am set free of her and she of me. I have a peace that is rare in this world -- a peace of knowing I am right with God and that no one owes me anything.

I thank God for this ability - the gift of being able to choose to forgive. I had a choice and I choose to forgive!

I hope this will help you and others you love to do the same.

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