Alphabet Faith Stories: Forgiving Fran

Change in one’s heart leads to forgiveness of others.

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 phrases/thoughts:

  • 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!

Blessings,

Yvonne

A Forgiving Heart Heals the Soul: Forgiveness for One Another

Matthew 18:15: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”

As a young girl growing up in my family, we were (without a doubt) considered dysfunctional in so many ways. My father was an alcoholic (although he denied it), and all of my brothers and sisters and I endured many years of verbal and physical abuse because of it. Some of us learned to forgive him while others held an unforgiving heart towards him up until his death at the age of 72.

As a Christian, I believe that forgiveness and acceptance go hand-in-hand. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, and it took me a number of years before I finally came to terms with my dad’s “faults.” I had to learn to love, accept, and forgive him for the way he was and allow God to work in his heart and life.

Sometimes we ask the Lord to “change someone else”, when in reality we need to ask the Lord to “change us.” With a new attitude and change of heart, I began to heal and had a greater understanding and peace of mind as I relied on God to change my relationship with my dad.

Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

It took my mother’s death (died of lung cancer at the age of 69) to change my dad’s attitude and heart toward God. The night before he passed away, he asked God for forgiveness for his sins and accepted Him into his life. In the Emergency Room the following evening, as my husband and I stood by his bedside, he went to be with the Lord.

How many times should we forgive one another if someone offends us?

Matthew 18-21-13 says, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy seven times.”

Forgiveness does many things for us:

It gives us peace of mind (mentally). In Philippians 4:6-7, it says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

It heals us (physically). In James 5:16, it says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

It frees us (spiritually). In Ephesians 4:25-28, it says, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

When we hold anger and bitterness towards one another, we lose compassion for one another. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”

Unless we are willing to forgive one another, God will not forgive us. Matthew 6:14-15 further says, “For 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.”

When we love and forgive one another, we are following His commands so that we can grow and mature into the person He desires us to be.

May the Lord help each of us to forgive and love one another so that we can grow mentally, physically, and spiritually whole.

Blessings on you,
Yvonne