Biblically speaking, we are to forgive others their trespasses against us if we want God to forgive us of our sins. I have written about forgiveness in this column many times. The more I speak on this subject, the more it is evident that many of us struggle with it. I want to highlight a story involving my mother and how a move of forgiveness transformed her life.
Nearly four years ago, her eldest son and her son’s wife were killed in a motorcycle accident.
That has been well chronicled. Within three months of the accident, my mom found herself in the church pastored by the man involved in the accident. At the conclusion of this service, she approached this man and showed him a mother’s love. She shared her forgiveness with him.
My mom began a transformation from a grief-stricken mother to a life-affirming child of God. She began embracing life again. I don’t mean to suggest that she didn’t hurt for the loss of her son and daughter-in-law. She discovered a way to embrace her future.
Nine months after the accident in May 2016, I was in prayer. I was praising God for my mom. During my quiet time of prayer, I heard this on my spirit, “Because your mom chose to move in forgiveness, her days on this earth have been extended.” I immediately wrote my mom a letter and shared this experience with her.
In September 2018, my mom was walking through the living room at her home when she suddenly lost feeling in her legs and slid to the floor. My youngest brother was with her at the time. The ambulance was called and she was transported to the local hospital. She was diagnosed with a condition that would require two back surgeries — the second surgery would occur on her 81st birthday.
The ten months that followed her hospitalization were full of challenges. She experienced infections, blood clots, and was injured in a couple of different falls. She was readmitted to the hospital on a couple of occasions. She became a resident of two different skilled nursing facilities following discharges from the hospital. She endured extensive periods of physical rehabilitation. She had to learn how to stand, walk, and climb stairs again. This rehabilitation was exhausting, frustrating, and at times painful.
About three months into this medical event, it was suggested that my mom may never leave a long term care facility. It was suggested that she would need around the clock clinical care for those activities of daily living. The thought of this was momentarily discouraging to my mom. She tried to hide it, but it was real. In those moments, she never lost faith. My wife and I would routinely remind her of the message that I had received on my spirit over two years prior.
Her faith began to grow and her attitude reflected her faith. People around her, other patients and residents, medical providers and caregivers, other visitors, and members of her own family, were being encouraged by her. We witnessed an attitude of gratitude. We witnessed a desire to be evidence of life and love through the way she tackled the challenges in front of her.
Last Friday, my mother was discharged from the skilled nursing and rehab facility to live at home once again. She is surrounded by family and will have some home care resources to check-in on her. She achieved something that only months before was thought to be unobtainable. Her miraculous healing is being celebrated by many. Praise God!
If she had held onto the bitterness relating to the tragic loss of her son and daughter-in-law; if she had made a choice not to move in forgiveness; I wholly doubt that this outcome would have been the result.
When my mom moved in forgiveness, she may not have felt like doing so. We don’t have to wait until we feel like it. We don’t even have to wait until the other person deserves it or shows remorse for the wrongdoing. We have the power to make the choice to extend forgiveness.
There is power in forgiveness.
We have a choice. What will you choose?