I was recently sitting in the church seats awaiting the start of the service, when I looked at the top of the program that was handed to me as I walked into the building. On the top of the program it stays: Anger. I was shocked. I knew that this service was meant for me in such a time as this.
Without knowing it, I realized that this service would speak to the core of my un-forgiveness for my father. Without realizing it, this service would dig into the anger that I’ve carried throughout my life for my father. All I knew was I needed to hear this and I needed to take it seriously.
As I listened to the sermon, I scratched notes fervently on the program, allowing my heart to soak up the wise words of the pastor. I knew that I’d look back at the notes and the scriptures and I would be putting meat to the skeleton of my un-forgiveness and bitterness.
Throughout the sermon, the pastor highlighted Ephesians 4:26-27 where it says, “…Do not let the sun go down when you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Here’s the truth, often when we are hurting due to the words or the actions we tend to burry that pain into our hearts and we carry it. When the Apostle Paul wrote the words “…Do not let the sun go down when you are still angry…..” it seems that Paul is encouraging us to deal with the pain that has rested in our hearts. Do not carry this anger around from the different seasons of our lives.
Hearing these words, I realized that I’ve been carrying bitterness for my father from season to season: from my childhood to my adolescence to my adulthood. I’ve been carrying this bitterness around too long! I need to let it go!
Now, that’s easier said than done. I’ve told myself for years that I needed to forgive my father, yet I still hold bitterness so close. The question is: How do I deal with it once and for all?
Listening to the sermon, the pastor described three steps that helps lead to healing and forgiveness.
We are asked to observe communion not only as a remembrance of Christ forgiving us, but in remembrance of us forgiving those that offended us. For me, that is my father. After church Jessica and I returned to her mother’s house where we discussed the sermon and the idea of forgiveness. She spoke about the pain that she continued to carry and I spoke earnestly about my desire to forgive my father.
After speaking earnestly about our bitterness and our need to forgive, we opened our sealed communion cups. Holding each other’s hands, we approached the Lord in prayer. I prayed specifically for Jessica and she prayed specifically for me.
We took communion together.
I can finally say that I’ve forgiven my father for the pain that I’ve carried over the last three decades. I will no longer blame him for my jagged edges; I will thank him for his provision. I will no longer allow the enemy to control my emotions toward my father; instead I will choose to forgive. I will choose to gift forgiveness to my father.
I am going to trust that God will heal my heart and allow me to rebuild a relationship with my father that have never had before. I am going to trust God throughout this process so that create a better future for my fiancée and my future children.
I will trust in God as Christ forgives me and I will pray that my father also seek forgiveness from a Holy and perfect God.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” –Ephesians 4:31-32.
Anthony K. Giesick
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