On a blustery January day, I watched a young man be handcuffed and led out of the courtroom to be taken to a juvenile facility. Eleven months prior, this handcuffed teen had made a reckless choice in an automobile that claimed the life of my son. The ramifications of that split-second decision were magnanimous—life altering; it forever changed the landscape of our lives.
Strangely, my heart felt unsatisfied—unsettled. Yes, earthly justice had been served but the heartache didn’t end. My soul acknowledged there would never be enough justice on this earth. I couldn’t have what I desperately wanted back, my beloved son. Some circumstances can never be fully righted on this earth.
I will always loathe what happened. His choice to drive recklessly will always be reprehensible. I wanted to hate him, too, for the heartache he caused my family. He haphazardly careened into our lives, leaving the scattered pieces of our hearts broken and bloody. The collateral damage seemed beyond repair. Bitter anger had begun to take root in my heart, gripping it, choking it, shrinking its capacity to receive. I knew deep in my soul that the power of hate could literally destroy me, making me another casualty of this terrible tragedy.
In desperation I cried, “Jesus, rescue me. I am drowning in this tumultuous sea of pain, loss, and am growing feelings of hate. Please guide me—help me. I choose to forgive. Please do it through me.”
My feelings didn’t automatically align with my decision; forgiveness has been an ongoing process because pain must be acknowledged, processed, and treated by God in order to move forward. Solid Christian counseling can serve as a blessed conduit of grace. The process of forgiveness can never be forced.
Gradually, I have released the layers of pain, anger, injustice, and the deep sadness of my heart. I have an abiding assurance—peace that Jesus is healing me and seeking righteous justice on my behalf. Jesus can be trusted with this young man’s life; He is both just and merciful. And, He knows how to administer enough justice without destroying a life.
My choice has changed my destiny; my heart is expanding and is openly postured to receive all that God has for me and my life. I know freedom from the shackles of hate. Miraculously, when the Lord brings him to my heart, I can genuinely pray for this young man’s soul to find the beautiful saving grace of Jesus to carry the burden of his guilt and redeem the pain of his choice. Forgiveness is a miracle. It is the path that invites the goodness of God to redeem and reframe our pain.
Forgiveness will always trump evil. Oh sisters, it’s so hard to do sometimes, but it will always free you to live and love fully.
Prayer: Merciful God, thank You for Your forgiveness. You know how hard it is for us to release the hurts and injustices we suffer here on earth. Help us to choose the path of forgiveness and accept the grace You offer. That is the only way we can lay down unforgiveness and trust you to see justice on our behalf. True authentic forgiveness is a miracle. A gift. A path to freedom. Thank you. Amen.
Scripture of the Day:
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. (Matthew 6:12, AMP)
Author: Maryanne Abbate