“Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.” Isaiah 1: 18
Forgiveness is something that many people struggle with. Before we can “set things right”, we need to seek forgiveness when we’ve wronged someone and we need to offer forgiveness when we’ve been wronged.
My grandfather was verbally abusive to my mom when she was growing up and would lock her in the cellar. She believed he was unhappy with her because he needed a son to help on the farm and she was his third daughter. Her parents even blamed her for her oldest sister’s death. But growing up, all I saw was that my mom loved and honored her parents. When he was old Grandpa was put in a rest home, and everyone quit going to visit him except my mom.
She went to visit him every day. She took him his favorite bacon and egg sandwich because he loved them and it made him happy. Mom showed Grandpa that she loved him by her actions. He was in that smelly old rest home for at least four years and kept asking my mom why can’t I just die? Finally one day he said to my mom, “Josephine – I know now why I had to be here so long. I need to tell you that I’m sorry for the way I treated you when you were growing up.” He died shortly after he told her that.
Even though she could have hated her dad, or told everyone how mean he had been to her, she chose instead to forgive him and to love him til the end. I believe he encountered Christ through his daughter who refused to give up on him. I also believe they are enjoying heaven together today because Mom’s love and forgiveness helped him get right with God.
Let us forgive each other as God has forgiven us!
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Janice also leads women’s retreats and recently wrote her first book: God Speaks to Ordinary People – Like You and Me. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicecarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected].