Forgiveness isn’t easy

Published 8:23 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: My husband has been abusive to me and to our children, who are now grown. When he was on his deathbed, he asked us to forgive him. I have done this but my children are struggling with showing compassion and forgiveness, though they’ve been taught to do so. Is there a Scripture I can give them as I continue to pray that they will resolve this in their hearts so that their future lives will not have to carry this terrible weight around in their spirits? – B.M.

Dear B.M.: The story is told of an abusive father who had abandoned his family and had not been heard from in years. When he was dying, he wrote to his children asking to see them, asking for their forgiveness.
Jesus’ command to forgive seems impossible to obey. But when the guilty party is near the end of life – and especially if that person has requested reconciliation – we need to prayerfully consider honoring their request. The Bible says, “You ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow” (2 Corinthians 2:7).
Although we may not realize it at the time, someday we will regret never being reconciled to the family member or friend who hurt us. Forgiveness isn’t easy. In fact, often we can’t forgive the person who hurt us deeply without God’s help. It is possible for God to work in us to overcome those hurts and heal the wounds. When we remember what it cost Christ to forgive us, it helps open our hearts to others in order to be more like Christ. Abusive people can be forgiven and they may still bear emotional scars, but God doesn’t want those who have been hurt to carry those hurts forever.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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