“I have a sister?” he responded.
My brother had made a Facebook post asking if anyone had seen his dad.
For some reason, reading this post
vexed me. The thought of forgiving him, my father, or my mother didn’t enter my
mind. Instead, I thought, if only he knew the truth.
I knew how it felt to search for our father; only to come up empty-handed.
However, as I read this message, I couldn’t resist the urge to respond.
No, I haven’t seen or heard from him in years I typed.
Little did I know that my answer would trigger and open another can of worms in my life that I had neatly tucked away for another time or more likely never.
Have you ever experienced unforgiveness in your life?
My brother further inquired of me, “How do you know my dad, are you one of his students?” The questions continued.
Finally, I answered honestly, I’m his daughter….
no, what have I done?
My mom was going to disown me or worse, I thought
I had just admitted or acknowledged that the child who had destroyed my parent’s marriage, (so I was told) was my brother.
He responded in amazement, and a meaningful conversation followed our discussion.
I hated him for destroying my family all these years. ~ He never knew I existed until that afternoon in 2015.
He was searching for our father to tell him, “Happy Father’s Day.”
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20
Both our lives changed instantly through the prompting of the Holy Spirit for me to forgive and move forward.
I may have found it easier to keep things hidden away – out of sight out of mind. Realistically, the root of bitterness was destroying me emotionally. It has caused depression, self-sabotage, and obesity to name a few.
Unforgiveness had rooted itself in my heart and mind. So, how could it be possible to have the mind of Christ? (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Christ didn’t walk around with bitterness like me. Whose image was I in with this kind of behavior? Definitely, not the image Christ expects of us.
I needed to repent and learn to “love like Christ.”
James welcomed my family into his family without any reservation of the past– just like our Father’s Love.
Nothing else mattered, but the importance of Reconciliation of family.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of Reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
I struggled with how to forgive my mother, wondering how/ why she prevented me from discovering this part of my life. Why was I made to feel less than loved and appreciated by my father, and yet blamed someone else, my brother?
This choice had filled me with much negativity over the years with the secrets, lies, and hidden agendas. Yet, we speak and claim we love Jesus and refuse to embrace our brother.
Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
In August 2016, our family traveled from Germany to North Carolina, and a visit to meet my brother in person was a high priority.
The heartwarming reunion brought tears as we embraced one another. Our spouses and children looked on with relief as well. They knew how much he and I needed to be in each other’s life.
That instant connection showed how hearts can reconcile despite the past hurts, lies, and betrayal.
I am called to be reconciled to God. Then I must be reconciled to others and be a living witness of the Ministry of Reconciliation.
I am called to Forgive
I chose to forgive myself and everyone involved in this cycle of hurt and betrayal.
Our reunion that Sunday afternoon was short, but we have since spent valuable visits together and shared several special moments.
I shall always cherish the day we sat enjoying our time together when I asked him to forgive me.
His response, “I forgive you. I love you Sis. You’ve filled a missing piece of my life.” Our hearts connected and our relationship was strong.
Family is important
As I reflect on my experience learning how I learned to forgive, it leads me to have a heart of gratitude and learning to love like Christ.
Colossians 3:12 reminds us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
We are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
To “clothe” would be to cover ourselves, to cover the body, and be wrapped up as if swaddled like a baby to protect it from the cold.
These attributes we must make a conscious effort to exercise daily.
The LOVE of Christ in our hearts requires a supernatural thing to happen on the inside of our hearts, and it is only through His love we can TRULY FORGIVE.
Our hearts and our minds will never change if we do not renew them with God’s word. It’s only through His word that our behaviors can change and look like Jesus.
Here are 4 Steps to Help You Find Forgiveness:
- Saturate your mind with the Word of God; who is LOVE.
- If I meditate on His Word day and night (Joshua 1:8), then my mind would look like LOVE;
- If I study His Word day and night to do everything written in it, then I’d LOOK like Love;
And Finally, If I hide His Word in my heart, I’d LOVE like Jesus….
If I do all these things, then I have clothed myself fully; to show kindness to my neighbor, humility to my co-worker, gentleness to a homeless person, and patience and forgiveness of a family member.
Lord, today, help me to be clothed with the LOVE of Christ so that when others look upon my life, they see Jesus. Amen
Friends, how can we be an effective witness for Christ if we continue to hold grudges and allow bitterness to control our lives?
Today we get to choose; Will I be controlled by the Spirit of God living in me or by my sinful nature?