COLUMNS

My Time - September 2010

by Melissa Vanover

 

Forgiveness


“What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven…God has cleansed their record.” (Psalm 37:1)

We should follow Jesus’ example of forgiveness. One of God’s blessings is his forgiveness. Christ makes it clear that he freely forgives us; therefore, how in good conscience and peace of heart could we hold anything against another person, knowing how we hurt the Lord with our multitude of sins?  How could we hold a grudge because of trespasses against us? 

We have the power to clean a person’s record of sins against us.  Every time I fail or grieve my Lord, he picks me up with tenderness and compassion.  He gives us the peace to freely do the same for others. 

What is forgiveness? It is releasing, pardoning and setting free. I have pretended to forgive, using a person’s apology only as a means of reminding them of their wrongs. By not letting go, it only kept me bound with hatred, living in the flesh, being proud, angry, and rebellious. “Letting go” to me meant “failure”. I had to pray to God for a humble spirit, and to prepare my heart for forgiveness to enter in. God heard my cry of repentance as I submitted myself to him. The Lord forgave me, so I, by following his will for my life, forgave others who wronged me. This is the reason I am free today!

God is watching over us. He will be there when we meet a difficulty, a struggle, or a temptation. He will help us back to our feet, and give us the strength we need to face each day. Look to Jesus for grace to freely forgive. 

I recently had the opportunity to put to use my Godly attributes by befriending a woman of pagan faith. Others called her a devil worshipper, a witch, even Satan. How sad! I put aside my worldly thoughts and carefully replaced them with heavenly thoughts. I let the Jesus in me reset with love to the Jesus I knew was within her. We began to talk about Jesus. She eventually gave herself to Christ. Praise God!

Keep in mind ‘faults and forgiveness’. We are all sinners and every sinner needs our love. Let Heaven fill your thoughts. Even Jesus befriended the lost. We can follow his lead and example by showing love to those that may not know him. Let us be merciful, forgiving and patient. Maybe all the while someone was waiting for us – just as my dear friend Bill has been (may God bless him), and currently is a blessing in my life. A patient man he is. It’s all thanks to God that I’m able to write RED! the breakthrough ‘zine today. 

Through Bill, I was introduced to Jeff, and here we are. Bill has been an awesome friend. I’m so lucky to have him in my life. Christ beams straight through him to me, during my visits with him; I love that I can talk with him and profess by deepest secrets and still, he loves me with Christian love.  He’s nice and always happy with what I have to say, but still he remains nonjudgmental. As I sit and discuss my painful past and current struggles, he listens with tears in his eyes. I love that he actually “feels” my pain.  Now, that’s Christian love.

We should all have at least one “Bill” in our lives. Most people hold against me the fact that I took a life. Not Bill. I wasn’t a bad person, then or now.  I knew of Christ back then. I attended church as a child and occasionally as an adult. But, I didn’t accept Christ. It wasn’t until the brutal murder of my cousin, Misty Blu, that I had my spiritual breakthrough.

You see, when I took Mike’s life, at the time I truly thought I was remorseful. But, in reality, I only justified why I did it. I mistook that for being remorse.  It took Misty’s death to open my heart and eyes. I couldn’t believe someone out there could do what they did to her: to leave her lying – to die – like a piece of trash. I was judgmental. Then, I was angry, wanting revenge on the animal that did it.  One day it hit me:  Mike’s family and friends probably considered me to be that same animal. 

All at once I not only felt my pain, but their pain as well. Talk about overload. The pain and guilt pushed me to the edge. I was badly broken. I was at my ropes end with emotional and mental pain.  I almost latched onto the rope of my destruction. I wanted to give up, to end my life. That’s when Rev. Gary introduced me to Christ. And instead, I latched onto God. And I’ve been fine ever since.

“Attachment to Christ is the real secret of detachment for the world.”
I forgave myself for what I did. That’s why I’m at peace with taking his life.  And now I can only pray that his family and friends will forgive me as well.