Monday, February 13, 2012

21 Days of Listening Day 19: A Testimony of Forgiveness

For the past almost three weeks I've been talking about how to listen to God, how to know it is God, and how to act on what we have heard.

Here is an example of how it has worked for me.

I grew up as a child of divorced parents. As is the case with such situations at times my parents did not get along. Over the years both parents have had some not so nice things to say about each other but it wasn't until several years ago that God really made it clear to me how much those words hurt me.

It is hard to hear bad things about a parent that you love, especially if it is coming from the other parent.

Several years ago I addressed this and other issues with my dad. We experienced so much healing from those conversations! But, until recently I hadn't addressed them with my mom.

During the past couple of weeks the Holy Spirit put on my heart that I needed to address it and that it was long overdue.

Here's how he did it.

During my prayer time he brought my mom into the forefront of my mind and highlighted to me how I had been treating her. I was not mean or rude but I had grown distant and cold, especially after those conversations about her and my dad. The more that the Holy Spirit showed me this, the clearer I saw that part of me internalized what she was saying.

After all, I not only love my dad but we also share the same name.

The Holy Spirit also showed me how the devil used this situation to drive a wedge between me and my mom. The longer I stayed silent the more resentful I became. Then I also started to think that since he is a part of me then maybe she feels this way about me too...

Of course the Holy Spirit showed me that none of these feelings were from God. It was my reluctance to address the issue that opened the door to these feelings. It was time to take action.

Over the weekend we hung out all Saturday. While we were at dinner the Holy Spirit tricked me into bringing it up!

We were talking about the things of God and I said something about how I have had to forgive a lot of people to grow in my relationship with the Lord.

So naturally she said "like who?"

"What are you going to do" the Holy Spirit said.

The Holy Spirit got me!

So I brought up the issue. I first apologized for not bringing it up sooner and for the times where I closed up or was cold and calloused to her. Then I told her that I didn't want to hear anymore about their relationship. It was the past and I'm happy to move on.

She was so receptive! She forgave me for holding onto these feelings and how it made me react to her and she was sorry for how I felt.

I felt a burden lift off of my shoulders. It was a huge blessing.

Not every situation goes this smooth. There are bound to be people that you repent to who refuse to receive your gesture of love.

That's on them. You can only control yourself.

But at the very least we can take action, take that first step of love and give the people in our lives an opportunity to love us.

Often times the people that have hurt us don't really see that they have hurt us.

By taking the first step we open ourselves up to vulnerability. This can be scary but that's OK. Do it for God. He told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Even if they don't love us back we will be blessed for our obedience.

Give it a shot. It has changed my life and I'm sure it will change yours.

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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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