Read: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)
Reflect: I grew up in an abusive household. I frequently witnessed my father physically abusing my sisters. I constantly feared his arrival and did everything I could to “stay under the radar.” But eventually the abuse was unleashed on me. Most of it was verbal, and although some may believe this is the lesser evil, his words left a deep wound in my life.
As a young adult I was haunted by constant self-doubt and fear of failure. I strived for perfection in everything I did as a way to avoid reopening the wounds created by his abusive words. I reached a point where I developed a deep desire to move on and not allow the past to stop me from having a better future. I reached out to God and began to trust in him and trust in his plan for my life. I learned that forgiveness allows us to release the past and help us restore the power of our words. I took my first steps toward forgiving my father, and I began to experience peace. I slowly began to heal. Whenever my mind wanted to wander into the valley of self-doubt, I would remind myself that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV).
I have now completely forgiven my father. This does not mean I believe his abusive behavior was acceptable, but forgiving him has freed me to refuse to allow it to have any further impact on my future.
React: Is there someone in your life who you need to forgive? Do you allow hurtful words spoken to you to affect your outlook on life? Forgiveness will free you from that prison.
Pray: God, help us to forgive as you have forgiven us, and help our words be a blessing in the lives of others.