Editorial: Giving thanks for those who serve the vulnerable
All too often, headlines remind us about the fragility of…
Forgive? Really? No way.
Forgiveness is an intentional, voluntary process. Feelings and attitudes change. We let go of negative emotions. How could I do that? I am trying to raise my family, keep my house from exploding into chaos and maintain my full-time job.
And I didn’t cause any of this mess!
But that’s what my Nana asked of me during her alert moments in her final days.
Read the Scriptures, she told me, and know how to render forgiveness.
For two years, I was blessed beyond belief to have my grandmother in Pennsylvania where I live. The nursing home staff knew that, every Sunday, they needed to get her up and dressed and have her breakfast fed to her so that she could come with us to worship with the King of Prussia Church of Christ. Nana would sing the old hymns, partake in communion with her weak, feeble hands and smile at the young children who would walk by and in their cheery, sweet voices say “Good morning, Miss Peggy!”
In two years Nana missed just three Sundays. Her memory, even at 92, was astounding. She would recite Psalms, finish the sentences of the Scriptures and pray for me as she knew the burden that I was bearing.
As her health started to decline, I just wanted to see her smile.
You see, Nana had suffered elder abuse at the hands of my own family for four years before I took power of attorney. By then, she was penniless and awash in credit card debt.
I felt betrayed. During my prayer moments and quiet time with the Lord, all I would do was complain, grumble, moan and ask for this thorn to be taken from me.
Nana took her last breath on Aug. 26, 2017. She is no longer in darkness, but now is in the kingdom. Hallelujah! I am thrilled to know that she is in heaven.
I have tried to honor her last request — that I stay immersed in Scripture and learn to forgive. Nana offered forgiveness to the family members who committed the abuse, so why was it so hard for me to do the same?
The Scriptures offered me guidance and helped me remember that I also have been forgiven:
• In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
• For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
• And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
I believe that forgiveness is playing a huge role in my grieving process. We all know the stages of grief, and while I feel that I sometimes go through all of them at once, I do forgive my family.
My mother has suffered from depression and now has Alzheimer’s disease. But when I see her, she remembers that I love the Lord and want to serve him until my last breath.
I learned that through my sweet Nana and promised to strive to follow in her footsteps and be a forgiver — not one who condemns.
Grief and forgiveness can work together to achieve the ultimate goal. The old is gone, the new is here.
I will continue to grieve the loss of Nana and work on offering forgiveness to continue on her legacy.
May the God of heaven grant strength and power to all of us who need it. May we live by the words of Ephesians 4:31-32:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Allyson B. Roberts and her family worship with the King of Prussia Church of Christ in Pennsylvania. She has a doctorate in music education.
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