Proverbs 20:20 Whoso curses his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
Forgiving those who have betrayed or harmed us is hard and even harder is forgiving family members who have done the same. We read of a family betrayal that if it were done today would bring out every type of law enforcement, let alone televise all the emotional scars that would be carved on the person's soul.
Joseph suffered this type of betrayal. Gen. 37:26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. It says, "His brothers were content." This is hardheartedness. To be content with a decision not to murder a brother but rather agree that selling their family member into slavery is a better option?
This is all wrong. How did the family become so cold? Yet, after many years Joseph forgives his entire family. Gen. 45:4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.
My Father was a sick and brutal man. I had a horrific childhood but have never used the events of that childhood as an excuse to become a criminal, addicted, or abusive. Were the opportunities available to become an addicted abusive criminal? Yes, but no thanks. Did I struggle with some of the shrapnel that en-lodged itself in my soul? Yes, but, with time and the grace of my Lord Jesus, I was delivered from its pain and crushing weight through the forgiving of my father.
In 1996 I wrote the story called I'm telling on you Doug. These are memories of when I was five years old. This next paragraph is an excerpt from that story describing the abuse that was suffered by myself and my mother, but most importantly, the eventual forgiveness of the whole time.
Down came his hand with a slap, then up flew the fist with a punch and a smothered sound that accompanies the impact of the blow. The rage in his voice mingled with the choreography of two people entangled in a blur of each other's movements. Blood stains are creating new patterns on the dress that my mother is wearing and smearing the floor in the area of this dance of violence.
I am paralyzed with fear and apprehension, because as I see the blood flowing from my mother's beaten face I can no longer look up at the longing expression of helplessness in her eyes. I feel incapacitated, because I am not able to help deliver her from this present anguish.
I am slipping into myself as my eyes cannot look beyond the bloodstained waistline of her dress, because beyond this point I cannot understand or carry this hideous image in my psyche. The fabrics of our lives are knitted with screaming, arguing, bludgeon back-hands, and the acrimonious intent of our destruction. Will this ever end?
This is a small part of a large story that we suffered fifty-six years ago. I give testimony that my mother and I are healed and living a blessed life. My mother is now married to a good man of God who loves her dearly and I am walking in the peace and joy of the power of forgiveness. Matt. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Forgiving the unforgivable is what Christ did for each one of us. His grace was extended to me so that I could extend it to my father who truly needed all of our Lord's grace and forgiveness. When you forgive the unforgivable you are allowing all the bondage's and family curses to be broken and repeated no more.
My family has never felt an angry backhand against their faces. I sow peace into my next generation by forgiving my past. It is time to man-up and get healed saints. Stand tall, put your shoulders back and shout it out loud, "I forgive you completely in Christ." Luke 23:34a Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.