By Michael L. Ritchie D.C.
Jenny to Forrest: “I want to apologize to you Forrest for anything I have ever done to you, I was messed up”
Jenny was living with the wounds of an abusive father and was destroying her own life with a series of bad choices. The anger, bitterness, depression, brokenness, sense of worthlessness caused her to look for love in all the wrong ways and places. She never understood how to release herself from the cause of past hurts. The wounds then evolved into a septic wound that was killing her.
We are all messed up. If you think that someone you know has it all together, it is likely you don’t know them well enough. Here are the facts:
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- What other people do to us is not our fault.
- Someone must pay the bill for the forgiveness.
- The person that offends us may not know they hurt us or may not be sorry for what they have done.
- We either pay the bill or internalize the pain and the wound affects our entire future.
- The bigger the offense the quicker we should forgive.
- Every lasting relationship is between two good forgivers.
Joseph, the son of Jacob, was born to Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel. After Rachel’s death (giving birth to Joseph’s brother, Benjamin), Jacob favored Joseph even more. This special favor made Joseph’s brothers so jealous they began to plan Joseph’s death. The tangled mess of family dysfunction was hard to trace from Abraham, Isaac, and down to the sons of Jacob. What could cause such a close family to come to the point where they wanted to kill each other? Who was to blame and what would be the punishment? You will find the entire story of Joseph in the book of Genesis from Chapter 37 to 50. If we were keeping an account to charge the brothers, here is a brief list.
- They threw him in a pit to die alone in the dark
- Took the blood of a lamb and smeared it on his coat of many colors
- Sold him into slavery to their enemies in Egypt
- Lied to their father and told him an animal had killed Joseph
- Joseph was a slave in Potiphar’s house (Chief of Pharaoh’s Police)
- Joseph was accused wrongly of rape by Potiphar’s wife and went to prison
- While in prison he worked his way up to business manager
- Joseph was in slavery and in prison for approximately 13 years
What were Joseph’s options when his brothers showed up to get food during the worldwide famine? Joseph had become the chief steward in all the Pharaoh’s kingdom.
- Maybe he could throw them in a pit
- Maybe he could sell them into slavery
- He could have thrown them into prison for 13 years.
None of this would have helped him overcome the pain of the past it could have only hindered his happiness in the future. When Potiphar asked Joseph to forgive him for throwing him into prison Joseph said: Forgiveness is stronger than vengeance, Compassion is more powerful than anger.
Jenny grew to love Forrest because she found out how much Forrest loved her. He loved her enough to forgive her. We are never more like the Lord than when we forgive.
The opposite of forgiveness is irrational, unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
Forgiveness is not easy so we must go through a process.
- Accept that the other person may not ask for forgiveness or be truly sorry. We must understand that God forgave us while we were in our sins and trespasses. He suffered our punishment and hung on the cross, saying: Father forgive them they do not know what they are doing.
- We must forgive them and never bring it up to them, to ourselves or to God. Forgiveness is a choice. If the offense comes to mind and we have feelings of bitterness, repeat your choice to forgive.
Eventually, you will be free of the burden of the offense.
- Pray for the person that God would bless them with repentance and the best in life. It is hard to be mad at someone you are praying for.
Forgiveness is not:
- Enabling the person to hurt you again.
- A mandate to be their best friend
Jenny was a shell of the person she could have become if she had forgiven her father and went on with her life totally free of the festering wound that would cause her to destroy her life.
Forrest would spend whatever time he had left with Jenny by taking care of her while she was sick. Her value was set very high because of Forrest’s sacrifice. Our value was set high on a cross on Mount Calvary. In the mind of God, we were worth forgiving and he paid the price himself.
- Because we have been forgiven.
- Because otherwise we carry the burden on us, and the bitterness will rot our souls.
- God cannot forgive us unless we forgive others.
Who should we forgive? We must forgive everyone for everything at all times according to God’s word.
Jenny said: Forrest I want to apologize for all that I have done to you over the years. What was the outcome? It turned a bitter, alcoholic, drug-addicted and morally compromised young women into a bride. That is the power of forgiveness!
Forgiveness is stronger than vengeance and compassion more powerful than anger.
He has forgiven Me
O’ to sin was such a debtor
Then his love set me free
Now can think of nothing better
My Creator has forgiven me!
Gone the weight of sin I carried
Away the man I used to be
Love has made me a new creation
With His blood, he washed me clean
Now to grace I am a debtor
And the Christ my God will be
Now gladly extend this grace to others
Because my God forgiveth me!
O’ victory in Jesus, my Savior forever
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood
Michael L. Ritchie DC 8-1-2016
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Then his master called him in. “‘You wicked servant!’ he said. ‘Didn’t I cancel all that debt when you begged me to do so? Oughtn’t you to have taken pity on your fellow-servant as I, your master, took pity on you? And his master in anger handed him over to the jailors till he should repay the whole debt. This is how my Heavenly Father will treat you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.”
Forrest Gump is one of my favorite movies because it shows the goodness that is possible within each of us if only we trust God and ask for His help.