When my oldest son was only about two years old, a sweet lady in our church invited my husband and me to her home to eat supper. We had a good time of fellowship. After we had eaten, she told me and my husband, "I want to talk to you about your son. He misbehaves in the nursery, and I think you should know." She lovingly and compassionately continued to give us advice and pointers as to how we could help our young son.
My husband graciously thanked her for the interest she had in our son, and told her that he was going to try to work with our baby on the matter. Although I smiled at her as my husband was talking, my proud mother-heart was not smiling at all! On the inside I was thinking, "How dare she?! My precious little angel-boy wouldn't hit other children in the nursery!" My thoughts were not kind at all.
Then, I felt completely ashamed and let my guard down. I thought, "Now, Anna, you know that your little Andrew is not an angel. Listen to what she has to say."
This dear lady was the lady who held my little Andrew the first time I went to church after he had been born. As he grew, she had a special love for him. I knew that she loved him. She would never say or do anything to hurt him! I listened to her as she told me what SHE did when her little boys (who were then young men) acted up in the nursery.
Then and there, I prayed in my heart, "Lord, show us what to do. Give us humility to accept this advice, and give us wisdom to do what we can to try to correct this behavior problem in our son."
That was on a Saturday night. The following morning, I put a new prayer request on my prayer list and began to pray for our little Andrew. It became a blessing for me to pray specifically for this in my baby's life, and led me to pray from then on for very small things in his life, as well as in the life of my other baby, Deborah.
As I look back on that night, I can only thank the Lord for my friend, who cared enough for our Little Andrew and for us as parents to talk to us. And I thank the Lord for "knocking me up-side the head" and helping me to see that if I could accept this advice from an older, wiser lady, this would help us.
To this day, I pray that my son (who is 10 years old) will be a blessing to his teachers and that he will listen and receive a blessing in his Sunday School class.
And about 4 years ago, a dear and precious friend of mine said something negative about my children. Although I did not show it at that moment, it broke my heart, and later I cried and cried! As the days following passed, I could feel anger and bitterness trying to take root in my heart. "I'll never let my children around her, and I'll show her. She'll be sorry she EVER said anything about my children." I think that when something hurtful is said or done to our children, it is WORSE than if it is said or done to us, isn't that so?
I remember one Sunday morning about one month later, I was struggling with this horrible and ugly tug-of-war in my heart. I knew with all of my heart that I had come to a point in my life where I had to make a decision: to let this anger and hurt continue in my heart; or to forgive and let go of that ugly comment that had been made. The bitterness that was beginning to take root in my heart was going to hurt me and my children one thousand times more than the comment that had been made.
I had lost my joy over one thoughtless comment.
Thanks be to my God, He gave me the power to forgive. He helped me to choose forgiveness.
Almost immediately, a tremendously heavy burden was lifted from my heart, and my joy was returned to my spirit. God lifted me out of that pit of unforgiveness and bitterness.
Did God deal with the lady about what she had said? I do not know, but that is not my business. What I do know is that God loves me enough to have dealt with ME, and I am so, so thankful!
4 years later, I can say that the sweet lady who caused my grief (in a time when perhaps she was tired, moody, or frustrated) has become one of the greatest sources of encouragement and joy to me. She has blessed me a hundred times over since then. I am so thankful that I forgave and let go.
What are you holding on to? Did someone do or say something hurtful to you, and you just can't seem to forgive and forget? You cannot; but God will give you the grace and the strength to do so, if you will allow Him. You see, forgiveness is a choice. You make the choice, and God gives the ability.
Experience the freedom today that comes through forgiveness!