Learning To Forgive
" And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
A Testimony of Forgiveness
Our Heavenly Father is most amazing. He removes all doubts and stills all fears. Even my smallest concerns are important to Him. I don’t dwell too much on the past. However, I did have a dark shadow of a memory haunting me that the Lord in His wisdom had chosen to bring into the light. Just this past year I learned how to forgive.
In the mid 70's, I belonged to a local Lutheran Church. My pastor was a good friend, near and dear to my heart. He guided me through the many difficulties I experienced within my marriage. Yes I really did have my children "sprinkled" there. I attended regularly, taught Sunday School and sang in the choir. I had a good relationship with our Pastor. I felt like I was doing all the right things that a person should be doing when "practicing religion". It didn’t last very long. My husband decided that getting up early on a Sunday morning and dealing with four kids at church was not for him. I continued on with out him. When our marriage started to fall apart, Pastor gave us counseling and encouragement.
Then came the announcement and with it the heartache of knowing that my Pastor had cancer. I was devastated as chemotherapy and radiation treatments robbed him of his strength and dignity. During this critical time, my father passed away. He was to be buried in a cemetery one hundred miles away from where I lived. When we were unable to find someone to speak at his grave side service, I asked my Pastor for help. Even in his weakened state, he wrote a prayer devotional for me to read. While it was a real test of my emotions and stability, I was able to lead the grave side service.
What happened next destroyed my trust in many people who considered themselves to be Christians causing me to leave the church behind. I watched in anguish as certain members of the church circulated a petition to have Pastor removed from his position. Their reasoning was that he could no longer perform any of his duties as a pastor. How dare they even consider such an unspeakable act? Unfortunately, they got their way. One week after Pastor and his family (wife and two small children) relocated, the cancer consumed him. His life ended at the age of 41. Could these people really call themselves Christians? Where were their hearts? Here was an opportunity to love, support and share the burdens of someone who loved the Lord and they turned their backs on him!
Disillusioned, I left the church. For almost thirty years, I wandered, never finding myself at home in a church until God got a hold of my heart on March 11, 2005 and I was born again. The Lord led me to my Christ centered, Bible teaching church/Christian school in April of 2005. There I was blessed to have met and known Pastor Jim. Pastor Jim was a teacher in the school and was appointed assistant pastor of our church. Shortly after taking on that position, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma.
With His infinite wisdom, God knew I still had that bitterness buried deep within me. When Pastor Jim was first diagnosed with cancer, all those horrible emotions accompanied by the fear of that memory, erupted from my heart. Then I heard His still small voice whisper, "No child. This time it will be different." Along with it came the Lord’s assurance that I have as a believer. Without anyone speaking a word, I knew in my heart how our Church family would respond. We are not just a Church family. We are the body of Christ, bought and paid for with His blood, adopted into God’s family as His sons and daughters. Pastor Jim is a part of that family. We will never forsake one of our own. My fears were stilled. In awe, I watched my brothers and sisters in Christ rally around Pastor Jim and his loved ones. Pastor Jim established a blog to record his daily struggles and triumphs as he walked with the Lord through this very difficult time. Through reading his blog, I could see day by day our incredible God working through all things together for the good of those who love Him. What a blessing to watch the love of Christ flow from the hearts of true believers! What a blessing for me to belong to the family of our great God! I am so thankful that I can rely on the love and compassion we have for one another. The bitterness of long ago has melted from my heart. It’s been replaced by an even greater love for my awesome God and the family He has adopted me into. At last, I have forgiven those who couldn’t know better because the love of Christ was not in them.
Pastor Jim is now home with the Lord. He established a blog to record his daily struggles and triumphs as he walked with the Lord through this very difficult time. His testimony and his love for the Lord is an incredible story. If you want to be blessed go to http://thehokeypokeyplace.blogspot.com and see the faith of one who knows and loves the Lord.