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How to Offer Genuine Forgiveness in the Face of Evil

How to Offer Genuine Forgiveness in the Face of Evil

After I received the phone-call from my mom, I rushed home, and looked for anyone from my family, but no one was around. I ran up to my room trying to figure out who to call. Worry and fear gripped my heart as thoughts of what actually happened circled my mind. I immediately started to have a panic attack and fell to the floor in the fetal position, crying and hyperventilating. Within a few minutes, my aunt, step-dad, and boyfriend were surrounding me, trying to calm me down. I wanted to know where my mom was and why she wasn’t there.

“What is going on?” I cried out. Then my aunt uttered the words that are now forever etched in my mind.

“Honey, your dad is dead. Someone shot him in the head and killed him. His body was dragged across the street to an abandoned building and the building was set on fire. They were able to identity his body this morning.”

My mind couldn’t comprehend what I had just heard. This sounded like something out of a movie or a forensic science TV show, not my life! I immediately went into shock and couldn’t stop shaking or crying.

Last month, I was transported back to this traumatizing memory, the memory that changed my life forever. After almost six years, the man who murdered my father was finally charged with a guilty sentence. He will serve up to 45 years in prison as a punishment for his actions.

And while most people are shouting: “That man should burn in hell!” I am preaching, “You MUST forgive!” because I know the severity of holding onto the wrongs that others have done to us. It simply is not worth it, my friends.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14, NIV).

I don’t know about you, but I have fallen short of the glory of God many, many times, and I need my sins to be forgiven because I need the love and presence of my heavenly Father from now until eternity. No matter what the sin is (how big or how small you may think it is), it WILL separate us from God. I NEVER EVER want to be separated from him.

Although I made a CHOICE to forgive the man who took my dad’s life right after it happened, I wrestled with so many emotions and thoughts after reading the articles describing the horrendous acts of murder that turned my world upside down in November of 2008. Seeing the photo of this man as he was escorted by two police officers out of the courtroom with his stone, cold eyes looking straight back at me made my stomach churn. My heart was pierced and so many different emotions rose up in me.

Avoiding haunting memories and traumatic thoughts was the main reason I chose not to follow the murder case as the years went on. Instead, I immediately chose to forgive and move on with both my life with Christ and the man who is now my husband. I did not want to live in the trauma. It wasn’t that I didn’t love or miss my dad terribly. It was because dwelling on all of this wicked and demonically influenced tragedy would never bring my dad back. I knew that justice belonged ONLY in the hands of the Lord. Most of all, I longed for that man to repent of what he did and find a life-changing relationship with my Jesus like I had found. I still pray for that to this day.

I can’t say that I have found the strength to pray a prayer like this or the strength to forgive from solely within myself. Though my strength comes from within, it is the power and might of the Holy Spirit which has been given to me. My life verse from the Bible will forever hold true, and I will never stop standing upon the promise of Philippians 4:13: “I can do ALL THINGS through CHRIST who strengthens me.” I’m so thankful for that promise.

In the midst of darkness or struggle, I know Jesus will never abandon me (or YOU). Although my earthly father is gone, I have a heavenly Father who loves me more than anyone could. I cling to him when the trials and storms of life try to overtake me, for he is my anchor of hope. I cling to and stand upon his Word that is full of promises – promises of his love, mercy, and grace, for he is my Rock and firm foundation. I cling to my Jesus and the voice of his Holy Spirit, for he is the One who gives me strength and courage to endure every trial I could ever face. I urge you to accept the forgiveness of the Father today and find strength in Jesus to learn to walk in total forgiveness, even in the midst of the darkest of trials. Oh what freedom and peace you will find!

Emily Rose Massey began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20's, and recently released her first book, Yielded in His Hands (eLectio Publishing). She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma and serving in her local church with her husband in television, worship, and youth ministry. Believing she has been forgiven of much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power. If you would like to connect with Emily or learn more about her book, you can visit her website: www.emilyrosemassey.com

Publication date: April 28, 2015