My childhood was pretty unhappy as my Mother was a difficult person to live with. As a little girl I remember sitting on the front steps of our porch, crying my eyes out because I wanted so much to love my Mother, and realized I hated her. At least in my hurting child-mind, that was the word I applied to the situation.
Years later as I was praying, the Lord burdened my heart with the need to forgive anyone who had ever wronged me—and of course the first person who came to mind was Mother. So I began listing everything I could think of that had ever happened, and after each one, told the Lord that I forgave her for that.
Then a sudden thought flashed through my mind, “Yes, I forgive her, but wait till God gets hold of her!” I was totally shocked at such a thought, and quickly asked God’s forgiveness for it; and in reaction to it prayed that God would utterly erase all the hurts I had brought to Him so that those things would never be brought up against her.
Such a sweet peace flooded through me, and I KNEW I had truly forgiven my Mother.
She and Daddy came to live with us for the last year of her life, and as her frail body was wasting away, I was able to care for her, bathing her and ministering to her needs with great love. I often wondered if I had not forgiven her, would I have been able to care for her as I did. It gave me such great joy to try and make her comfortable, and to realize how much I loved her.
And about a week before she passed away, as I brought her a cup of hot chocolate to try and coax sleep into her tired body, she looked up at me and said, “I love you”. That was the first time in all my life that she ever said those words and hearing them was almost my undoing—but what a blessing!
If I had never forgiven, would I ever have heard them?
Oh, forgiveness brings such a reward of joy and peace to one”s heart!