Thursday, April 11, 2013

How forgiveness changed my life, literally

I think most things in life can be traced back to a single moment - something that happened to change who you are, your way of thinking, the direction of your life and the choices you make. But it's now always easy to pinpoint those moments.

For me, I can pinpoint the day that led to where I am now. It was a sermon in church. I know the exact one. If you'd like to hear it, you can go to Edgewater church's audio archive, then go to the bottom and enter "forgive" in the search box. Click on the sermon, "Metamorphosis: A Need to be Forgiven."

It's a powerful look at why and how we need to forgive ourselves. We've all sinned. We've all made mistakes. But the only real way to move forward, I think, is by forgiving ourselves for those transgressions, asking others for their forgiveness (though knowing we aren't in control of whether they give it or not) and then using that knowledge to do better in the future. It's also important to teach that to our children.

That sermon was given on March 28, 2010. On April 18, 2010, about 3 weeks later I emailed my now-husband, then ex-fiance, on Facebook after 16 years without contact.

He didn't email me back for four months, not until Aug. 15, 2010. That same day I wrote him this:

"Speaking of which, I have recently started going to church and joined the United Methodist Church here. As a part of that, our pastor talks a lot about forgiving, especially yourself, so I want to take this chance to apologize to you for some of the things I did so many years ago. I was a bit of a mess back then in a lot of ways (funny how age makes you see that) and made some pretty bad choices when we were together. I'm really sorry for that."

We spoke on the phone on Sept. 14, 2010, and have been together ever since. I see such a clear line from God's word to my life now. If you are struggling with forgiving yourself or forgiving someone else, I would recommend checking this sermon out. Just that act of making peace with my past and asking for forgiveness over it was transforming for me, and I hope it can do the same for you.

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