Dear readers, the following letter was written to you by a man who my husband and I met several years ago. Our friend rode a motorcycle to church, he had a weathered face and a quick smile.
And one day after Sunday service he waited outside where he approached me and awkwardly handed me a piece of crumpled notebook paper.
He said, "I'm no writer but the Lord put it in my heart to write this down. Maybe you could run it in your column some time and maybe it could help someone. You, uh, might have to clean it up some cuz I ain't a good speller either. But it's real! Thanks." Then he walked off. I didn't know his full name, we only knew him as JC and I wanted to share his story and message with you again. Be blessed ...
“All through life we will be making decisions ... hopefully, right ones. Some of those decisions will be very hard, especially when forgiveness is involved. I remember developing a sour dislike for my dad after my mother died from a massive stroke.
“I am sure that it's because he never had any interest in me or any activity I was in, or not ever taking just him and me somewhere — had a lot to do with me disliking him. And then all the times I saw and heard mom crying over some small disagreement or problem and he was so insensitive and clueless that all she really needed was a gentle hug and whisper of how much he loved her. But what she got was his macho stupidity of a brash laugh as he walked away. He had no idea what to do.
“As time moved on a phenomenal thing happened in my life. Through many divine directives I became a born again (John 3:3) believer of Jesus Christ, the anointed Son of God.
“So now that the Holy Spirit of God was in me and I was daily meditating on the word of God, the Lord began showing me more and more of His love and wisdom. During this time He also showed me how to forgive my dad. In his later years, my father was born again, we established a good relationship. He came to live with us and died peacefully in his sleep. Amen.
“Then God showed me the natural human side of my dad who was the oldest of 10 children. At the age of 15, he lied about his age and joined the Navy. (Probably to get away from home I suspect.) I doubt my dad was able to gain any proper family values from his father so the Lord showed me that he could not give us what he never had. The Lord began to deal with me about forgiveness for my dad. Ouch.
“It's never easy. It's never fun but it's absolutely necessary. Why? Because God's word tells us we must. Mark 11:25 & 26. In the Lord’s prayer, Matthew 6:9-13 he mentions twice, forgive us our debts, (did you know if your born again you belong to Jesus), for the rest of your life because He gave you eternal life? Then He says forgive us our debtors. (Did you know we are to forgive those who've wronged us?) And never keep a record of that wrong.
“There's many reasons why (we should forgive someone), a couple would be ... If we were trusting God for all of our needs. Then what difference does it make who steals from us? The second would be ... if you get upset. You just opened the door for Satan to steal ... your faith, the word, your joy, your peace and your love. Please don't let him do that to you.
“What did Jesus do? They whipped him and punched him beyond recognition, made him carry the very cross He would be hung on, and then crammed a crown of 1-1/2 inch thorns down onto his head. And He said "Father, forgive them" ... well ... there's our example. So what are you going to do? I hope you'll repent, do some crying and then make some right changes in your life that will please Him. Forgiveness is not a maybe deal ... its a MUST deal. Stay in His love, stay in his forgiveness, "Like a little child" and you'll make it.
In His love, J.C."
A few years ago JC called in sick to work one day, lay down on his bed and died peacefully in his sleep.
He was 72 years old. I am so grateful to have known him, even for such a short time. And how awesome it is to know that he and his dad are reunited once again and rejoicing with our Heavenly Father ... like little children …
"Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26
"And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors." Matthew 6:12
Contact Brenda Groves at firstname.lastname@example.org