This morning I was reading one of the articles written by Dr. Robert Enright from the International Forgiveness Institute. The newsletter article included a question from a reader about Forgiveness. Dr. Enright responded with three questions that I thought were great. One of them made me laugh because I had not thought about it during my “Forgiveness” journey.
1. Did God make this person, and you? –
Yes, and in His image, which means I can not dismiss him. He is as important to God as I am.
But you know I tried to dismiss him! But now I feel if I dismiss him or say he is irrelevant, I am in some way saying God messed up. That is not true. God created man and woman on the sixth day of creation, and He blessed them (Genesis 1: 26-28a).
Don’t get me wrong. When I was assaulted and my body plundered, God did not like it nor give His stamp of approval. God cried for me even when I couldn’t cry for me. God will or may have already dealt with the boy that said he cared but attacked me anyway.
2. Did God make this person, and you? If so, what does this mean about who this person is …and about who you are as a person?
God is no respecter of person. God is a jealous God, but He does not play favoritism. God knows the heart of all men and women (Psalm 139).
Yet, self-will gave birth and brought humanity to its knees. Selfishness showed humbleness to the door. The door stayed open long enough for pride and all of her friends to walk in. I want to think I am special. And if you are truthful, you do, too. God created humans with many differences; yet, He loves us all.
What might help?
I love the story of Joseph. Read the entire story of Joseph (Genesis, Chapter 37 through Chapter 50). The gems buried in the life of Joseph will help you understand what Joseph meant when he said, “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good (Romans 8: 28).
3. Is it possible that you might meet the other person in the afterlife (me, Heaven?) Are you willing to take an eternal perspective on the one who harmed you?
This question took me by surprise.
I had not thought about him making it to Haven or seeing him in Heaven. I do not know if he was saved or not. I do not know if he asked God to forgive him for assaulting me. Because what he did to me was a premeditated act. (Oh, there go pride and self-centeredness.) And, yes, at one time, I wanted him to suffer. But the funny thing about wanting him to suffer was I could not think of what would make him suffer enough. So I gave up wanting him to suffer.
Are you willing to take an eternal perspective on the one who harmed you?
I have forgiven him, but running into him in Heaven, or anyone else who had hurt me here on earth, never crossed my mind.
Then I ask myself, “What will it be like to see him in Heaven?” To be honest, for a brief moment, it took me to the place of “how did he get here?” (There go pride and self-centeredness again.) The only answer there is, and it is the same for everyone who walks through Heaven’s doors and stands before the Almighty God: we are there as a result of God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
When I forgave him here on earth, it was done in Heaven.
The forgiveness process took a while for me, but once I could see the boy with the smile I loved a long time ago, I knew I had finally come to a place of forgiving him. I am glad I was not faced with these questions before now because I honestly do not know what my responses would have been. But God knew that the week of April 23, 2020, would be the day He would open my heart and mind to these questions! Thank you, Dr. Robert Enright!
Therefore, my answer is, “I will be glad to see him because I will not remember him as he was. Only as he appears to me in Heaven. I won’t have to pretend; I don’t do that very well anyway. I will not have to tell God how he treated me, God knows and has forgotten (Psalm 103).
How about you? How would you answer these questions?
I would be interested in hearing your comments.
Until next time! Be Blessed and Be Well!
Thank you for stopping by!
Here is a couple of my favorites!
23rd Psalms music by Jabari Steward and friend
Never Wanted Broken By Leonard Patton featured on “Outside the Box”
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