When I became a Christian not too long ago, the greatest gift I found was that I had a Father. Even though my biological father abandoned me many years ago, I was never alone, never orphaned as I sometimes felt as a sad, lonely, rejected little girl.
My mom has always been in my life. Unfortunately, she struggled with her own demons, as so many of us do. I have since found forgiveness for my mother, but offering this same grace to my father is not coming so easily.
As I read the chapter From Orphan to Adopted in Pastor Derwin Gray’s Limitless Life, I assumed my head would nod and be filled with amens throughout the 17 pages. This would be a chapter I wouldn’t learn much from. He would be preaching to the choir…
I was incredibly wrong…
Instead of letting me bask in the glory of God’s grace and adoption, he challenged me. Pastor Gray’s father also left when he was a child. He stayed away through most of his younger years, only showing his face a few times which usually brought more sadness and disappointment. To this, I could definitely relate.
However when he grew up and felt an overwhelming need to forgive his father, he lost me. I really want to feel this yearning to forgive, but the pain is still so fresh. I want to, possibly even need to, feel this conviction in my heart:
“Adoption into God’s glorious family means that everything that Jesus has—His rights, His privileges—we now have because we belong to Jesus, the Father’s Beloved. As this gospel truth moved from theory in my mind to conviction in my heart, it moved my hands to action. I had to find my father and restore my relationship with him.” ~Derwin Gray
My father came into and left my life a few times over the years. Each time, I was left a little more broken than before. My pain has always rationalized not forgiving him, knowing he would just reject me again. I let myself rest in the peace of finding my true Father.
Something is different tonight as I type these words. I’m beginning to feel that yearning, a spark to forgive. Not a full-fledged forgiveness… I’m not there yet, but a small ray of light in the darkness of hatred and anger I have carried with me all these years.
Perhaps it is our debt to forgive as we have been so beautifully forgiven. To love as we are so unconditionally loved. To offer grace as we have so unworthily received it.
When Pastor Gray shared about his children playing with his dad and developing a relationship with him, I couldn’t help but wonder what this could be like for my kids. They could pass my dad on the street today and have no idea who he is. I always justified this with my fierce mommy protection to not let him hurt them as he did me.
What if I’m wrong? What if God has been working on his heart like he has mine? It may be time for me to answer these questions.
Let’s all challenge ourselves to the Transformation Moment Pastor Gray offers us at the end of his life-changing chapter:
Reach out to the people you need to forgive.
Write a letter.
Make a phone call.
Send a text.
Extend an invitation.
It’s time to get released from the self-limiting prison cell of unforgiveness and walk in freedom.
(Limitless Life, p.86)