Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21 – 22  Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Ephesians 4:32  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

One topic I heard a lot of in church, and in our small group, the first few years after recommitting my life to the Lord, was the topic of forgiveness. The topic was preached on, and people talked about it frequently. Whether they practiced this biblical doctrine or not, I do not know. I remember being convicted about who there was in my life I should forgive. I wasn’t too concerned about who it was I might need to ask for forgiveness of, that would come later. One name that kept coming up was Earl W. Six, my father. My life with my father was a few times good, but mostly a traumatic experience which lasted up until the time I left home at 16. I thought that settled that part of my life, but I was wrong. The first few years after I left home every time I saw my father, he never saw me. I would see Him on the street or in some other public place and would shake all over, needless to say, I never tried to visit him during that period.

As the years moved along, I began to feel like I should try to have some kind of relationship with my father, and visited him at his home a few times. These were never very pleasant visits, I never stayed more than a few minutes. He always seemed happy to see me, but didn’t have much to say either. After a while I was able to visit without the old father son baggage showing up every time to make me miserable.

Finally after the conviction became strong enough to motivate me to action, I made plans to visit my father and forgive him for the negative part he played in my life. At the time he was living in the Chicago area with his wife Rose. At what I thought was a good time in our conversation, I told him I forgive you for all the things you did while I was a child. He said what things, I was a pretty good guy. This stunned me but I chose not to rehash the things that bothered me then, plus some of the things I knew about how he treated his second family children. At that point it was all water over the dam. I don’t know if my forgiveness did any thing for him or not but it did for me, but that is another story.  How could a true follower of Jesus not forgive, if they consider all Jesus has to say about forgiveness

Matthew 6:14 -15 “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.