A long time ago I read an article in a magazine. This was the way God spoke to me about my problem with my father. At the time, I was not ready for it, but it stuck with me… until I was ready.
[the magazine read thusly]
“If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don’t really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassion, understanding, and love. It worked for me then, and it has worked for me many times since, and it will work for me every time I am willing to work it. Some times I have to ask first for the willingness to work it, but it always comes.”
Eventually, through a great deal of pain, I became willing to surrender to what God was asking me to do. To take the Bible’s advice. I began to pray for my father. I prayed that blessings would rain down on him like warm summer showers. On the East Coast where I grew up there were these wonderful rain showers during the summer. They provided relief from the heat and humidity.
Anyway . . . .
I prayed for the “S.O.B. -you-know-who-I’m-talking-about-God!” I was honest….. and I was loud!! After all, it did say I just had to say it, I did not have to mean it. I did not mean it. But I prayed for the S.O.B.Y.K.W.I.T.A.G anyway. Though I could barely stomach what I was saying, I prayed everything I wanted for myself, to be given to him. Peace, happiness, love, friendship, wealth, health, joy; and especially – wisdom! that it would be given to him. I did this as often as I remembered him… which was pretty darned often.
For sweating through this loathsome practice, three days later I was given a great reward.
I was lifted up to heaven, in a way, and got a bird’s-eye-view of my father as he was being seen through God’s eyes, and while I was there I learned something quite incredible. –A miracle-. All I can say about it was this: Love… Love and Compassion. As I looked down on him from the clouds, he appeared to be very small … gerbil-sized actually… and he was limping around with his head in a paper bag; making gerbil noises; “Erk, erk, erk”. And he was in a great, great deal of emotional pain.
I began to experience my father as something not big… not scary… but small and hurting. Not only was it his shrunken size that I saw (his bigness used to scare me terribly), but also being able to see how much emotional pain he was carrying, and how baffled he was by it all. My heart could not help but go out to him.
And so, for all the hard work I had put into it, I was given the ability to take a on full leap of forgiveness; a forgiveness for him I have kept in the inner most part of my heart. This forgiveness was so deep, so thorough, that I have been able to hold onto it to this very day. Never again have I hated him… not at any time.
ps: Both my parents are dead now. However, I was only able to forgive from afar. I hadn’t had anything to do with him personally since the time I finally talked to him (see the post below). He was too toxic for me to be around. He would have left me ragged. I had to know what I could handle… and what I couldn’t. My sister handled him. Apparently she could handle the sting… and that was ok. But I couldn’t, which was fine with God as I hadn’t ‘heard’ any God-word inside that told me it was safe for me to be near either of my parents.
Please read: “Why Must I Honor My Horrible Parents“ – to see an example of this kind of forgiveness.
**Peace & All Feloreaw to our Great God and Father**