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Has anyone ever hurt you so badly, and even continued to do it without remorse, that you couldn’t bring yourself to forgive them? Have you been filled with so much anger that it affected how you lived your life? Did it affect your attitude so much that it affected your loved ones surrounding you as well? How do you forgive someone like that?
I’ve been battling with writing this post because I had no idea how to even answer that last question on this topic. For almost 10 years now, I’ve been searching for that very answer. But my new relationship with my Heavenly Father is teaching me things that I wish I would’ve known so much sooner. He is bringing a new peace to my life that I haven’t felt… well, ever. He is teaching me how to finally forgive.
If you know me personally, you may know that my father has been practically non-existent in my life since I turned 18. My mother hid his alcoholism well from me and my siblings. But my senior year of high school, she just wasn’t able to hide it any more. He started staying out all night after work. My mom was crying a lot. There was so much tension between my mom and my dad and they turned my brother and sisters and me into their “go-betweens”.It was awful!
I remember one night specifically where my dad came home late from work yet again and was asking me to get my mom to come outside because he wanted to talk to her. He was yelling this from our driveway, obviously drunk, and I’m sure all the neighbors got quite the show. Then he got upset when she didn’t come to the door to hear what he had to say and I remember yelling at him for the first time in my life, “Can you blame her?!”
He left after that and we didn’t see him again until the next morning.
I still have no idea where he went that night.
My mom took us away for a couple days without telling him we were leaving. We stayed at a hotel for 3 days and he begged us to come back. My mom was hopeful it scared him enough to change, but it didn’t. It took less than a week and he was back to staying out all night again. My three siblings and I at the time of this event ranged from ages 12-17 and my mom couldn’t stand by and have us live in that environment any more.
One night after I was getting out of work at a chocolate factory in my hometown of Canonsburg, PA, my mom pulled up the car which was filled to the brim of our stuff, my brother and sisters, and our German Shepherd puppy. I knew she was serious this time. It took great courage to do what she did and I’m thankful every day she got us out of that situation when she did. We ended up staying at one of my mom’s friends’ houses that was up for sale and vacant right by where I worked and right by our schools. We lived there until we all finished school and I graduated high school. My dad was not invited to and did not attend my graduation ceremony. He had no idea where we were living and what was going on in our lives.
It was at my graduation that I was beginning to catch a glimpse of what life would be like without my dad.
After my graduation, we moved to one of my aunt’s houses for the summer and then moved into another aunt’s house when the school year began since my brother and sister all had to get back into school. They all had to start at a brand new school, meanwhile I moved away to college. I feel guilty sometimes that they had to make bigger sacrifices than me. I was going to move away from home and friends no matter what since I was beginning college. They had to leave their schools at such young ages and start brand new with no friends. They suffered from my father’s actions even more than I did.
My dad never helped me move into college like so many dads do with their daughters.
He never attended my college graduation.
He never walked me down to aisle to the wonderful man I married – my baby brother gave me away.
He has only seen his older 3 grandchildren maybe 3 times since they were born (our oldest is 4) and he has yet to meet his newest grandson.
These things happened because I was angry with him and couldn’t forgive him, not because he chose to do those things. I had no idea how to handle him after that terrible year of 2007.
To be honest, I am still angry at him. 9 years later and I’m still angry. How unhealthy is that? I am so tired of being jealous when I see fathers and daughters together, saying I love you, walking them down the aisle at their wedding, holding their first grandchild minutes after they are born.
I never heard I love you from my dad. Ever.
Why couldn’t I have that? Why did I have to have an earthly father who continuously chose a substance over his family? To this day, he is still choosing that substance over us.
Just tonight, as I write this post, my healing has finally started. I think writing this post is even helping my healing begin even more. I think God is purposely using this blog as a way to heal me while I also reach out and try to heal others with His Word.
James 1:19-20 says:
Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.
Anger completely hinders our ability to become close to God. The thoughts and acts of anger prevent us from attaining that relationship with Him that He designed us for.
I thank God that he has never stopped pursuing me, pursuing that ultimate Father-Daughter relationship. He has shown me more love as a Father in these past few months of me finally knowing Him than I truly ever felt from my own earthly father.
My Heavenly Father is helping me realize that my dad is sick. Alcoholism is a serious addiction and it tears families apart every day. That his addiction is exactly that and that unless he gets help, he cannot just turn it off.
I was just talking to my husband tonight saying my dad basically admitted he is still drinking. And he doesn’t seem to care. I was devastated.
I asked him how on earth am I supposed to forgive him when he continuously hurts me and my mom and my sisters and my brother and doesn’t even care?!
And then I swear God talked directly to me and said, “I do that every day.“
I instantly had tears running down my eyes, I have tears running down my eyes now as I write this. I feel God’s love and the Holy Spirit as I write this. Jesus GAVE HIS LIFE FOR US. He gave his life knowing we would hurt him and deny him and turn away from him over and over. And he STILL made that sacrifice for us!
Matthew 18: 21-22 says:
Then Peter approaching asking him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’
This is how much God loves us! We cannot even fathom His love for us. When He asks us to love others the same way He loves us – this is what He means. Loving others and forgiving them even when they hurt us over and over and don’t even seem to care is something we are called to do as Christians. That is when the hate stops and the pure love begins. We are all humans and we all sin. We do not have the right to determine what is forgivable and what is not. In the Bible God says that absolutely nothing can keep us from His love, that He will forgive us no matter the sin when we ask for forgiveness!
God also warns us how important it is to forgive. Matthew 6:14-15 says:
If you forgive others their transgressions, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.
This verse was kind of like a slap in the face when I read it. If I cannot forgive my dad, how can I expect God to forgive me of my sins? If people want to see Christ in me, and if I want to feel Christ in my heart, I have to do as my Heavenly Father asks! He gives us these commands because He knows that is what is best for our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our souls. Letting go of anger and learning to forgive, whether it be once or a thousand times, is something we need to do to achieve that one-on-one relationship with God. He is dying to know you! He is dying to talk to you! To hold you through the hard times! And rejoice with you in the good times! He is the most amazing Father you could ever imagine.
Because of His Fatherly love for me, I know I can let this go. I have a Father! One who loves me and tells me that every day!
I don’t know how to have a relationship with my dad, or if I even can, but I will continue to pray about it and ask God for guidance because He knows what is best for my heart. I’m not letting it affect my emotions or the beautiful family that He has given me any more.
I have been reading a devotional, 31 Prayers for My Husband: Seeing God Move in His Heart by Jennifer Smith, (also known as the Unveiled Wife), and there was a challenge in there to begin a prayer journal. The prayer I wrote in my journal today inspired me to write this post. I felt I finally had the words for this difficult part of my life and I hope this helps to begin healing you as it has me.
Teach me how to be intimate with You! Teach me how to pursue a relationship with You. And please tell me what I should do about my dad. Please protect him from his flesh – he is a prisoner of it. Please protect him from the enemy – it’s constantly whispering in his ear. Please have mercy on his soul, Lord. I ask You again, please tell me what to do with my relationship with him – whether it be continue talking or let it go. I have no idea how to handle this, Lord, and I need You to lead me. Please teach me how to truly forgive him. I have no idea how or where to start but I know You know the answer. YOU are my Father, Lord! You are always with me, always listening, and always loving. The most amazing and perfect love a Father can have for his daughter comes from YOU! And one day I will receive the most amazing hug from you, my wonderful Father!
I ask that you join me in the healing process of learning how to forgive someone who continuously hurts you. Not only will it help you live your life more joyously but it will help you begin that relationship with God that He desires so badly with you. He is a Father who wants to know His children. He gave His only son so that He could have that with us!
Thank you so much for reading! If you have any questions or comments or want to message me personally, you can either send me a personal message on this page or comment below. I love all of my readers and want to hear from you!