Forgiving my father

A little over a year ago, I was told by my half-sister that my father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Even though he had abused me and made my life so difficult, I wasn’t happy to hear the news. I really wasn’t sure what to do with the information. Should I call him and try to make amends before he passed? Should I do nothing? What should I do? I mulled it over for a couple of months and still couldn’t come up with anything.

I called my dear, and very wise friend Gabriel and talked with him about it. He knew that even though I said I forgave my father, I was really nowhere near forgiving him. Gabe said that when Jesus was nailed to the cross, he had the opportunity to have God bring His wrath on those who had put him there. Instead, Jesus said, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Gabe went on to say that my father couldn’t have known what he was doing, or he would have never done it. He said, “Kelly, your father wasn’t in his right mind. No father in their right mind would do that to his child.”

Later that night, as I was getting ready for bed, I kept thinking about what Gabriel said. I knew he was right, but again, I just didn’t know what to do with the information. As I layed my head on my pillow, I suddenly started thinking and repeating these words in my head, “God, forgive my father because he didn’t know what he was doing.” Over and over I repeated the words until I fell asleep.

The next morning, I felt a new and wonderful sort of calm come over me. From that day on, I didn’t feel anymore anger towards my father. God listened to me and forgave him. He also helped to remove the anger and resentment from me that I had been carrying around so long. I honestly felt like a new woman.

Three months later, my father died. When I found out, I was at peace with it. I didn’t have any unresolved problems with him, so I was able to just let it go. I don’t know if my father asked for forgiveness before he died, but that’s between him and God. I know that what I did is what saved me and that’s all that matters. It was between me and God.

Forgiveness isn’t easy, believe me. I carried around so much anger for so long, but I’m so happy that I was finally able to move on. What’s funny is that I didn’t forgive my father on my own, I asked God to forgive him. I will never forget what he did to me, but at least now I’m able to heal myself knowing that I don’t have to carry the burden of anger with me everyday.

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1 Comment

  1. bert said,

    September 10, 2009 at 7:29 PM

    Kelly, great post that displays the power of forgiveness. Knowing in your heart that you have forgiven (but not forgotten) your abuser completely shifts your life. At some point in my life I was able to forgive my uncle, and in a way maybe it was also about forgiving myself for ever thinking it was my fault, maybe that is where the anger stemmed for me. I have not seen my uncle in decades and I know I do not need to. There is peace now, like you the anger is gone.


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