F: Forgiving Fran–Ephesians 4:32–“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of forgive(ness):
- To cease to feel resentment against an offender
- To give up resentment or claim to requietal
- To grant forgiveness
- Forgiveness makes you stronger
- Forgiveness takes courage
- Forgiveness is a gift
- Forgiveness is freeing
- Forgiveness changes you
- Forgiveness helps let go of hate
- Let it (forgiveness) teach you then “let it go”
- Forgiveness according to Christianity
F: Forgiving Fran’s Story:
“Fran became a Christian at 15 years of age and accepted Christ into her life while attending a local church in her community. She began attending church regularly and joined the local church youth group and tried to participate in church functions as much as she was allowed. She also brought a number of her siblings to church as well.
Every Sunday one of the families in the church invited people to their home for dinner. They had four children near Fran’s age and asked her to join them for dinner after church. Fran’s parents were reluctant to allow her to go but finally gave in. This began a very long-time friendship with this particular family–but that is a story for another time.
Fran found herself talking more with the mother about her own family’s problems. They were role models and encouraged her to love and pray for her family. She did not have this in her home as her father was an alcoholic and verbally abusive to her brothers and sisters when he was drinking.
As the years went by, Fran fell in love with the oldest son and at the age of 20, they were married in the church where she found the Lord. Her parents attended the wedding, along with all of her siblings, even though there was a lot of tension between herself and her father.
Fran and her husband moved to a mid-western state where he finished his degrees while she worked for a church organization. She kept in contact with her family and many times Fran and her husband helped them with financial difficulties.
When they finally moved back to PA after a number of years, Fran’s family ended up living with them because her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. They had been living in Nebraska, so Fran and her husband went to bring them back to PA where her mother passed away in their home one month later. Her father continued to live with them and it was definitely a tense relationship between the two of them.
One evening, Fran and her father talked about the “past” and all of the things that had caused their broken relationship. She prayed with her father and asked forgiveness for her attitude toward him and he asked her to forgive him for any hurt he had caused her and everyone in the family. Three weeks later her father passed away.
Forgiveness began in Fran’s heart as she listened to her father’s story of when at the age of 19, he had accepted Jesus into his life but had, over many years, wandered away from his faith. She knew that she had to ask forgiveness not only from her father but also from her heavenly Father. That was the beginning of healing as a heavy weight was lifted off her shoulders.”
All of us have experienced at one time or another hurts caused by others and our first reaction is to “not forgive.” Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:14-15 that “if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NIV) I believe that Jesus commands all of us to forgive one another.
Fran’s story was my story. I learned to forgive because my heavenly Father forgave me of my sin and wanted me to live my life fully for Him through His mercy and grace.
May the Lord bless you as you forgive others as well as yourself because God has forgiven you!