Pain and suffering came crashing into my life like a wrecking ball against the side of a building, except I was unaware of this evil being set in motion against my family. The intent was to destroy our family structure and the core values on which we stood. The result was a devastation that would take years even to begin to repair filling me with hatred, revenge, and disbelief. My family had been destroyed. I had been destroyed.
When Hatred Settles In
At the time I was not a Christian. A friend presented me with my first ever Bible and my search to find Jesus Christ started. Unfortunately, our local church was of no help. My frantic search continually came up empty. My anger and hatred grew to a staggering level. Crippled and without hope I cried all of the time. I pulled away from family. Friends no longer existed. I pushed everyone away.
Out of desperation, we started a Bible study in our home hoping to find answers. Eventually, someone told me “Pat you have to forgive, you have to let it go” … HOW COULD I LET IT GO! I wanted to scream. They had destroyed my life; ruined my family. Everything I had ever stood for meant nothing. I poured over the words in the Bible looking for answers, not seeing what was right in front of me. I wanted justification, satisfaction; I wanted God to tell me I had the right to hate, change what had happened and punish those that had caused it.
Often I would dream of being on a very high slippery roof sliding toward the edge, desperately grasping onto the smooth, slick surface trying to push myself back from the edge with my heels. I knew once I let myself go into the darkness beyond I would never return. I ached for that darkness and the resolve it could bring. Just be finished I would think, give in – go into the darkness. There was something that always stopped me; something inside that made me keep fighting. I would desperately push myself back with my torn heels, grabbing with my bloody raw fingers to keep from going over the edge. Whenever I got too close, I would wake up sweating and clammy, out of breath.
That’s hatred and what it can do to you. It is a strong, controlling emotion like that wrecking ball. Once set into motion everything God desired for me was destroyed, it did nothing to those I hated and did not want to forgive but boy it sure did a number on me and those around me. I was slowly allowing myself to be destroyed.
[Tweet “Hatred does nothing to the ones we hate but does a number on those we love”]
Finding Room to Forgive
It would take eight years before Christ really came into my life. I read the Bible, went to church, did everything I thought was right. I called myself a Christian, but I didn’t feel like one. I begged, pleaded, searched, did Bible studies, I cried out to Jesus to bring peace to my heart. I couldn’t figure out why didn’t He help me. I didn’t understand what was going on.
Still…I COULDN’T LET GO!
Finally, I realized my heart was so FILLED WITH HATRED, SELF PITY, and UNFORGIVENESS that I had left no room for Jesus Christ. I wanted Him in my life, but I also I wanted to hate, and I didn’t want to forgive. Well, my dear sister, we can’t have it both ways. Matthew 18:21-35 the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor. If we refuse to forgive how can we expect to be forgiven? We can’t.
Eventually, with a lot of prayer and the find of a teaching pastor my heart started to change. Through him, God brought The Word to life softening my heart as I listened. I felt the messages were directed at me. God was working in me, and the words of scripture suddenly came alive. Jesus heard my cries of desperation, and He started to open my heart allowing me to receive everything he had waiting for me.
Slowly I began to forgive and as I did the hate diminished also. It wasn’t easy. Letting go can be frightening, I felt even more vulnerable. Once I made the decision to let go the Holy Spirit stepped in guiding me. The motion of that wrecking ball was stopped midair. The peace that replaced the hatred was so sweet and so powerful it took me to my knees. That beautiful peace has never left me. As long as I keep my eyes on Jesus, I know it never will.
Jesus promises in Mathew 11:28 “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Even When Situations Remain
Everything around me changed because I changed. I was seeing with a new heart now. The sky was brighter, the rain sweeter, the clouds not as dark and gray. Life was not as forbidding. You must know this, however. Nothing about my situation changed. I must say that to you again, NOTHING about my situation changed. It is still the same today; nothing had been resolved. My situation didn’t change, I did. I DID, I now had Jesus Christ living inside of me, and I was a new person. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
Does it mean my life is perfect? NO; that I don’t have any further trials? NO. But I can cope better; my unfortunate situation may never correct itself while I am yet here on this earth, but I know someday it will be reconciled by my Father in heaven. With that, I have peace, the peace only God can give.
Starting Your Journey of Forgiveness
Find someone even if it is a teaching pastor on the radio. Find a Faith Radio talk station near you; listen to the words of scripture. If you can’t find one, let me know, and I will help you.
Let go. You are only hurting yourself and those you love. I promise, better yet God promises you won’t fall, you will fly.
If you like, I will pray for you.