I was visiting with a sick, elderly friend. I never knew her to be a follower of Jesus, yet she expected to go to heaven someday. She told me the two people she did not look forward to seeing in heaven were her parents! “They were abusive and unloving. I hated them when they were alive. I can’t forgive them!”
Wow! What strong language! I asked if she knew how they were raised. She didn’t. I suggested that perhaps they both grew up in difficult circumstances and then raised their children the only way they knew. I reminded her that Jesus once said we must forgive others, if we want God to forgive us.
She held firm—she would not forgive them.
I asked, “How long do you think heaven will last?” “Forever.” “And how long do you think this life will last?” “Not much longer now.” “Then your parents must be very important to you.” “No they’re not!” “I think they are. If you are willing to risk giving up eternity in heaven because of them, then they are VERY important to you.”
She teared up, “What should I do?”
“Jesus loves you. He died for you. He wants you to be with Him in heaven someday. He knows all the hurts and heartaches of your past. He knows it all. He also knows how difficult this is for you. First you need to ask Him to forgive you for all your sins and to be your Savior. When you do that, you will receive God’s Holy Spirit and forgiving your parents will become easier.
“If you still have trouble forgiving them, ask God to help you. He will help you do it. Once you forgive your parents you will then experience God’s peace, joy and love. Would you like me to pray with you?” She nodded.
- 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 6:14-15
- At the Feet of Jesus – Lyrics by Liana Wendy Howarth; Music by Kathleen