PATHWAY OF Healing
God’s Perfect Way of Forgiveness
By Barb Abker
"He Waits" Publishing Company
The act of forgiveness is a daunting task for some, but did you know that God designed it to be perfect and complete? Yes, He designed forgiveness to be lasting, and in the same way He forgives us, we must forgive those who have hurt us so deeply.
True forgiveness isn’t keeping a record of the wrongs done against us; it’s letting them go. It’s a monumental act for the heart that hasn’t surrendered, therefore it can only be done in God’s way. In 2001, God taught me that true forgiveness can only happen through Him.
The amazing thing about true forgiveness is that it takes those with healed hearts straight into the battlefield of the hurting heart, and it can be painful. We’re shown the pain that people carry so we can understand not only why they hurt so deeply, but also why they hurt others.
My mother was an abusive woman—physically, verbally, and emotionally. Yet, when God showed me the depth of her pain, I cried. As He unfolded her history before me, I began to understand why she acted this way. There was much abuse in her life, and no one intervened.
But God intervened in my life because I allowed Him to, and instead of condemning Mom any longer, I could forgive her in the way He intended. If healing would come to my hurting, hardened heart, it could only come in God’s way.
The physical pain delivered by her hand eventually faded, but the emotional pain haunted me for years. Emotional healing comes from knowing how to release your
pain correctly, yet I had no idea where to begin.
I didn’t know that my Savior was waiting for me to surrender everything that had ever hurt me. My pain was buried so deeply that I didn’t realize just how much I needed the Lord until it was gone, nor did I understand the weight of my burdens until I surrendered them.
Have you ever asked God to change the people who make your life unbearable? Any time we ask God to change someone else, He always begins with us.
He doesn’t say, “Okay, you remain the way you are, with an unforgiving heart, and I’ll change them so you can feel better.” No, He instead says, “My beloved, YOU need work done deep within your angry, hurting heart. Let Me teach you how to forgive those who have hurt you. Then you will begin to see them change because you have changed. "Trust Me with what hurts you most, and I will fix everything that is broken in your life.” This is the loving and faithful God I’ve come to know.
As God continued to heal my heart and bind the wounds that afflicted me, I began to see Mom differently. I looked past her anger, annoying habits, and even her crimes, and straight into the heart that God had given her. It was there that I saw the woman who would have never abused me if Jesus were Lord of her life.
This is how perfectly our Father designed forgiveness to be. I saw the woman He created, before sin entered her life. Saying I forgive you couldn’t remove the pain buried so deeply within my heart; only surrender could do that. All that hurts must be surrendered to God, and we must learn the meaning of true forgiveness so that healing can begin.
Forgiveness was the furthest thing from my mind, but forgiving my mother was first on God’s
list. Before my surrender, I tried to forgive her, but only because I was told if I didn’t, God wouldn’t forgive me. When God taught me about forgiveness, He also taught me about the hardened heart.
He chose my mother to be my first act of forgiveness simply because she was my greatest wound. When I forgave the one who hurt me the deepest, forgiving others came much easier.
Today, I have a phenomenal understanding of forgiveness done in God’s way. Forgiving Mom released her from the abuse I suffered at her hand, and me from the burden of hate and unforgiveness that I clung to for so many years. I swore to never forgive or forget, what she had done to me. In endless agony, I continued this vendetta until I realized the pain was killing me.
It’s been said that when you try to reason with someone who is on drugs, you’re merely talking to the drugs. Therefore, everything they hear is distorted. This is also true with people who have angry, hurting hearts. It’s not easy to forgive someone in the midst of an angry outburst, and if your heart is bitter as well, you won’t understand that a hurting heart always hurts others. Angry, hurting hearts can’t forgive. They don’t know how.
Understanding why Mom hurt me was necessary to get past the pain of being abused. Finally, I could walk away from what she did and not carry that burden any longer. It didn’t mean that I agreed with her behavior, it only meant that I understood it. Understanding it is what released me from holding her crimes against her any longer and allowing my flesh to hate her.
Because of the work God has done in me, there was no longer any room in my heart for hate. Surrendering our pain allows us to see others with our spiritual eyes, or the eyes of the heart, which is the same way that God sees them.
Although Mom wore her pain openly, no one recognized it for what it was, and she was labeled and rejected by those who should have supported her. But over the past nine years, God taught me that we can only “love, parent, teach, and be” to the level that Christ lives within us.
So, if you’re lacking parenting skills or simply life skills, don’t be so hard on yourself. Realize that God alone can turn you into a godly parent or an awesome person, but you must surrender to become all that He intended for you to be.
When the heart has been healed by God, we can look past the ugliness of the crimes being committed to see the depth of pain that others carry. Only then can we come to love them as Jesus does. We won’t just tolerate them; we’ll really love them.
True forgiveness brings about true love, and we can’t come to love those who have hurt us if we haven’t truly forgiven them. We can’t look past their crimes and into their precious hearts and love them as God intended. This is why forgiveness must take place in the way that God designed it to. As in all things, if we’re going to forgive, it too, must be done in God’s way.
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