Sunday, May 18, 2008

Forgiveness - Part II

I don't have a story of forgiveness as dramatic as Corrie ten Boom forgiving the man who betrayed her family, but the story I am sharing hurt me badly at the time.

In 1999 one of my dear friend's was diagnosed with cancer. I had known David since 8th grade. He had become friends with my husband and I was friends with his wife Dana. We spent many evenings out with them and when their daughter arrived we spent many evenings at their house. Then their son arrived and we spent less time together but Dana and I talked on the phone frequently.

As David became more ill, Dana became more stressed, she also told me David did not want to talk to me. That hurt, but hey, he was ill, and in my book that meant he could talk and spend time with the loved ones of his choice.

His family was in prayer, our priest was praying, my friends and I were praying and even fasting occasionally. This is one time in my life, I must say I never saw a prayer answered, but I know they were.

At the beginning of May, the entire truth came out, David was and had been living at his parents for months. Dana was drunk and living alone. The drinking problem had begun a couple of years before. She only let me see her on Saturday afternoons when she was together or at church. David's father asked why I would not talk to his son. I told him David didn't want to talk to me. He cleared that up and I went over to visit him.

I spent a lot of time the next three weeks with David and his family, I will never forget the night he said it was time to say goodbye and he was dead 24 hours later. I even checked Dana into a hospital, had her at my home to spend the night a couple of times, but I wanted to throttle her. After David died, she was embarrassed I knew the entire truth. I told her I loved her and I could forgive her everything. I had a hard time with her lying about David not wanting to talk to me. Anger and grief would well up unexpectedly. I know my husband was tired of my tears, but he understood. He loved David and David's entire family. Dana cut us out of her life about a month after the funeral. I sincerely hope she is well, and I hope the children are well. They have a wonderful aunt and paternal grandparents who love them very much.

I asked God why did you let him die and leave those children with Dana? I knew and know God did not abandon David, his children, or any of us during this season, and I know He received David, but occasionally almost 9 years later, I think why.

For 1 year after David died, unforgiveness would try to well up and make me explode, like in the days of old when I was a teen and known for my fierce temper if you messed with a loved one of mine. For 1 year, unforgiveness tried to lead me into gossip about Dana, make me turn away from God and praying with people, make me bitter, make me too tired to minister to people, basically shut me down as a Christian. Then I read the letter I posted yesterday. I knew I had to really commit myself to forgiveness, really feed my spirit and mind on Scriptures pertaining to forgiveness and really leave it at the foot of the Cross and not pick it back up again.

I had really been praying to be a true Christian through all this, but would have my moments with anger and unforgiveness, because part of me really wanted to yell at Dana and shake her. The other part of me wanted her healed, I wanted/want my friend back. To this day, I miss her...even with all the lies, the drinking, etc, I miss her. She was my friend, I still love her. She could knock on my door today and I would hug her and tell her I love her.

The grace of Jesus and His shed blood make it possible. It is His power, not mine that makes forgiveness a reality. We may have to forgive over and over, but true forgiveness will come.