How to Find Freedom Through Desperate Forgiveness
By: Lisa Robertson
Al and I continue to be amazed at the response we have had from our last book, Desperate Forgiveness. I don’t think that it’s because we are great writers or because we have insight that is unavailable to everyone else. As a matter of fact, everything we know came from a higher source — our Heavenly Father. If we were all that special, we wouldn’t have made the decisions we made that put our family in danger.
So what is it about that book that touches the hearts of so many?
There’s a saying that has become somewhat popular over the past few years (I even see it on church marquees everywhere I go) that says, “Hurting people hurt people.”
Truthfully, for a variety of reasons, Al and I were both hurting people. We both came from wounded families with a long and sordid history of dysfunction. I’m not going to rehash it here since we’ve been very open about our families of origin, but I will say that when adults in a child’s life pour out unspeakable abuse and neglect on the hearts of impressionable and vulnerable children, the resulting pain can last a lifetime.
As a matter of fact, wounded children almost always grow up to become wounding people … UNLESS … unless they have a meaningful encounter with the God who suffered more than any of us have. To be honest with you, Al and I would have never made it had we not both taken our broken hearts into the presence of God and laid our pain at the foot of the cross of Christ.
It was there, at the cross, that we found out about forgiveness. It was there that I realized that the one and only being in the entire universe (who had every right to hold a grudge against me, by the way) had actually sacrificed in a horrible and beautiful way so that my rebellion against him could be forgiven. He would have been just if he had taken my breath away and walked away, but that is not what he did. He died for me. He forgave me. He suffered far more than I ever have. So when I look at what Christ did for me on the cross, I realize that he was desperate to forgive me. Imagine that — the Creator of the cosmos suffering for me because he wanted me. He desired me. Why else would he pay such a price?
It was at the cross that I realized that the only path forward for me (if I would find healing) was to forgive the man who used me like a rag doll. No, what he did was not right. No, I will not excuse him. No, I will not allow him to have access to my grandchildren. But I could not carry unforgiveness toward him in my heart and bask in the forgiveness that God lavished on me at the same time. I had to choose: I could continue to be controlled by my hatred of him, or I could choose to receive freedom from guilt and shame and resentment.
I thank God that I chose freedom — I chose to believe that the cross was the only way out of the hellhole that had become my life.
And guess what! God was faithful. He delivered me. As a matter of fact, he continues to deliver me to this very day. Praise him and all glory to his name.
I have no idea what you are struggling with. I just know that everywhere I go, men and women and children are wallowing in the mire of self-pity that comes out of horrible experiences. Perhaps you weren’t wounded in childhood, but your pain came out of a spouse’s betrayal or because a trusted friend let you down in some profound way.
It doesn’t matter what the source of your pain is, your ONLY path forward will come from the same place that mine did — by understanding that someone far superior to you forgave you when they had every right to condemn you. I had to come to terms with the fact that I could not enjoy God’s mercy while I was unwilling to extend grace and mercy to someone else.
And here’s something else I know — when you bow before God and lay your idol (your resentment and hatred) at the feet of God Almighty, he will liberate you. Don’t waste another day being responsible for someone else’s sin. Give it to God! He’s the only one qualified to handle it.