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Developing the Habit of Forgiveness

Suffering because of the sin of someone else has been one of the hardest things I’ve faced in my life. Not just my own suffering, but watching my daughter, Jen, suffer time and again has been almost unbearable at times…. All because of the sin of someone else.

If you’re not familiar with our story, our family was in a car accident, hit head-on by a drunk driver. While all of us sustained injuries from the wreck, my daughter Jen had a traumatic brain injury. You can watch our video here.

Years later, Jen was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. We learned that her cancer was probably a result of all of the CT scans she had on her head after her brain injury. Yet another hardship Jen, and our whole family, would have to walk through because of the sins of someone else.

I thought that I had forgiven the drunk driver who hit us. I thought I’d forgiven the negligent police officer who could have prevented the accident. I thought I’d forgiven the insurance company that kicked us out of the rehab hospital. I thought I had stopped blaming God, who could have kept it all from happening in the first place… but when I heard Jen’s diagnosis, bitterness came rushing back.

As I struggled with God in this season, He began revealing so much to me about forgiveness and I want to share just some of what I’ve learned.

Forgiveness is like cleaning out a wound. Just as physical wounds often have layers of tissue that need to be cleaned out daily to prevent infection, emotional wounds can also have layers that require us to forgive again and again. I love Jesus’  example on the cross. Even while men were still driving nails into his hands he was praying “Father, forgive them.” Maybe he was trying to teach us that the sooner we forgive, the better. Once bitterness takes root, it’s harder to dig up.

Forgiveness is rarely a once-and-done breakthrough. It’s more like a habit one develops over time. Forgiveness itself doesn’t heal our wounds; only God can do that….but forgiveness sets us free from the bitterness that infects our wounds and positions us so that God can make us whole.


If you’re interested in reading more about what God taught me about forgiveness, I’ve written about it in my latest book “Beauty Marks”. You can order your copy HERE!

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