I found this lesson difficult to write. There are aspects of it that might reflect badly on my mother. It makes me glad that I publish under a pen name. Forst stand for Fat, Old, Retired School Teacher.
My mother was a very good mother, but she had some attitudes toward me that caused me quite a bit of frustration when I was growing up, and they continued through her life into my adulthood. With that frustration came some bitterness and anger.
As a Christian, I saw this bitterness and anger as a sign that I had not forgiven my mother. I would then beat myself up about unforgiveness. I heard a teaching one time about forgiving 70 times 7, even if it is for the same thing. Then I would think, 'Oh, no. How many time do I have to go through this?' I would pray again about forgiving my mother.
One night before I fell asleep once again I became angry about something she had done. I prayed, 'Lord when will I ever forgive my mother.' Suddenly I was transported spiritually to another place. I saw a sea of faces. Just as I began to study the faces, the light went out and everything was black. A spotlight came on in the center of the area, and my mother stood in the center of the spotlight. It was like a holographic image of her. She did not move and she did not appear to see me. Suddenly I knew my mother was before the throne of judgment. I felt the OVERWHELMING presence of the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God, the creator of the universe.
My heart started pounding wildly and my throat tightened like in a nightmare when you try to scream. I instantly fell flat on my face and pleaded as hard as I could for God to have mercy on my mother.
Suddenly I was back in my bedroom. My heart was pounding and my throat was tight. (The whole experience lasted maybe a minute.) As what happened sank in, I realized that before God there was nothing I would charge against my mother. Saying anything against my mother was the farthest thing from my mind. She was totally forgiven.
I thought about this for a while feeling a new sense of freedom with the revelation. Then my thoughts turned toward others. Obviously I love my mother, but what about when strangers do something terrible? The Holy Spirit said to apply the Eternal Perspective. (Another blog based on the question: Ten thousand years into eternity of walking with God, when you look back on the tiny blip of time that was your life on earth, how important is this going to be?) When you are in the love and mercy of God do you think you might be able to ask God to forgive them? In the answer of 'Maybe”, the Holy Spirit has a crack that allows the Holy Spirit to begin working a healing.
In scripture we are exhorted to test spirits. There is no caution about testing the Holy Spirit. So I used my normal test in these situations. Show me a scriptural basis for this insight. The Holy Spirit responded with an answer He has used before. 'What did Jesus say?' Somehow in these situations my mind finds the answer quickly. When Jesus was being nailed to the cross He did not turn to the soldiers and say, 'I forgive you.' He took it to Heaven and said, 'Father forgive them.'
For me this was a life lesson. For example, recently my ebay account was hacked and 3 items for $650 were purchased on my credit cards. I was not happy. I checked: my attitude, Would I bring this up against them in the court of Heaven? The answer was obviously no. Then I contacted ebay, Paypal, the police department, and the post office. (I had USPS tracking numbers for 2 of the items.) Forgiveness for a Christian is forgiveness before God.
Things to remember:
Forgiving does not mean you like what happened.
Forgiveness is before God. You do not have to tell the other person that you forgive them unless you feel that it will help you or them to heal.
Forgiveness does not mean that you don't take steps to stop them from hurting others. Tell the police and testify in court. True forgiveness is before God.
Rest in the goodness of God. God is on your side. In Heaven your understanding of the situation may be different.