“I Forgive You”

There are no more powerful words in the universe than “I forgive you.”  Whether it’s said to a stranger, a loved one, or yourself, those words have the power to release people from a bondage  they hadn’t fully realize existed and bring them into a position of possibility once again.  Sometimes the sin disappears, sometimes it returns, and sometimes it returns with a vengence.  But when that sin, that offense occurs, it takes work to forgive once and keep it forgiven, no matter the temptation to revisit.  To keep an offense forgiven, to bury it and stand foursquare for forgiveness and the possibility of love that it may engender, is one of our highest callings as Christians.

The inability to forgive can also be my greatest failure.  I carry a grudge like a beaten camel.  I don’t have many grudges, but the ones I have are strong and unrelenting.  Despite the fact I know what forgiveness is able to do, I hold onto it and the accompanying pain and like a complete moron, I wonder why God has not healed me of the hurt that seems so fresh.  Rarely do I remember the first step to that healing is mine, not His.

Go back and look through the posts on this blog about Ryan Robertson and his family.  Try and do it without shedding a tear.  If you can manage to do that, you are a stronger person than I.  Nowhere have I seen a more powerful, compelling case for forgiveness.  In the anguish of his struggles, Ryan downright savaged his family.  There were times they lived in sheer terror of his presence.  But Ryan made a move to be forgiven and in one of the most beautiful examples of Christ-like love, they forgave him in heaps and measures.  When confession was made and repentance achieved (sometimes a staggered process), the love of God was made manifest and beautiful.  I have heard stories of people who have been profoundly affected by this family’s story (myself included) and that the love touches people so wide and far who are longing for this level of restoration is a clue that it is not a love of this earth, not of the mortal, flawed, sinful beings that inhabit it.

There are times that I cry out to God for His grace, to help me love Him more so that I might feel and experience that love.  What I keep forgetting, and need to learn through the process of forgiveness, is that the first step is always mine.  If we don’t think that we’ve done anything to be forgiven for, is it any wonder that we feel God’s love so weakly?

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~ by WriterRand on April 19, 2010.

2 Responses to ““I Forgive You””

  1. Excellent post. I really good on the subject is Jay Adams’ “From Forgiven To Forgiving.”

    I like the new format of your blog but the colors (or lack there of) are a little boring. I’d consider using this format myself if I can find a template with a color scheme that suits the theme of my blog.

    Blessings!

    Erik

  2. Rob and I, along with our three surviving young adult children, feel overwhelmed at the love and support that the community of readers at FormerlyGay’s Blog have given us…without even knowing us.

    We need you to know, though, that when Ryan called us after being gone for 18 months, and yes, committing many wrongs against us because of his addiction, GOD alone filled Rob and I with love for our son (He had never stopped giving us love for him – ever), and such great joy that our son was alive and actually WANTED us to be a part of his life. God was so clear with us, when Ryan asked if we still loved him (That was SO not in question), and if we could love him WITH a boyfriend, to simply love Ryan AND his boyfriend, and trust the rest to God. We are overwhelmed with gratitude that God spoke to us so clearly. Had He not, and had we listened to the voices around us, we might have missed the last year of Ryan’s life…the best months we ever were honored to spend with him. We would have none of the memories, pictures, letters or miracles that we saw in the last year of his life. We would have missed so much if we had refused to love our son, though he had quit fighting against his same-sex attraction, and had embraced his gay-identity that year. We would have missed seeing Ryan’s transformation…Ryan’s return to His heavenly father.

    In addition, as Ryan was lying, in a coma, at Harborview Medical Center, I was begging God for reassurance that if Ryan died, he would be going to meet Jesus…that he would finally know the love and forgiveness that he wanted to believe in, but didn’t think he deserved. It was then that God sent a young woman chaplain…a grad student from Princeton Theological Seminary…to speak to me. She listened to our long story, and said, “Linda, all God is bringing to my mind is the story of the prodigal son. The son did not believe that he DESERVED to be a son any longer, but perhaps a hired hand. That is what Ryan thinks. But I am convinced that if God allows Ryan to die, that God is going to run to Ryan and embrace him, telling him, “You have NEVER stopped being my son.”

    Just then, the Holy Spirit asked me a question. He said, “How long did it take you and Rob to forgive Ryan, and receive him back as a son after those 18 awful months?” Of course, my answer was…no time at all. Forgiveness was already given. Ryan had never stopped being our beautiful boy. We had never stopped loving him. And then the Lord immediately brought this scripture to my mind:

    Matthew 7:

    “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

    And then, God clearly said to me, “Linda, if you, being such a flawed, broken parent, and such a tiny, tiny glimpse of the Father that I am, can have forgiven and loved him so completely, how much more so can I??”

    Rob and I praise God for the clear instruction God gave us…and for the reminders through good teaching many years ago (“Don’t remind your kids what you believe; they already know! Just love them.”)….we have many quotes from Ryan in letters and e-mails that say it was our love that helped him begin to believe that perhaps God could still love him.

    We take no credit…We are such broken, failure-prone parents. But we are incredibly thankful for God’s leading…and for all our friends, both in the gay lifestyle and now out of it, who helped us understand Ryan’s pain. And to Ryan, who took such risk in being so completely, vulnerably honest with us about not only his sexuality, but his anger and hurt with God, and his desire to be forgiven. We will never be the same after being Ryan’s parents, and being honored to know many of his friends.

    Now our biggest job is to put this call to forgiveness to action on a daily basis, as we lay our hurts before the Lord; there are still many who haven’t forgiven Ryan, or who judge us as parents for having a son whose life was so very different than most Christian parents would hope for. However, Ryan taught us and changed us…and I don’t think any of the five of us would want to go back to who we were before we walked Ryan’s journey with him.

    We are praying, daily, for each of you who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction; we are convinced, that no matter how “successful” you are with this battle, or what side of the fence that you end up on, that NOTHING can keep God from loving you, His child.

    Romans 8:35-39

    “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

    As it is written:
    “For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Grieving deeply, but with certain hope because of God’s great faithfulness,

    Rob and Linda Robertson

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