"So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view." 2 Corinthians 5:16a (NLT)
She worries when I don't wear a coat.
She washes her dishes before she puts them in the dishwasher.
I never know what she's going to say, and her honesty can make me blush, laugh until I cry, or just cry.
She's my mom, and I love her.
Growing up, things were very different. My mom was beautiful on the outside, but broken on the inside. That brokenness made our home life chaotic and unstable with out of control rages and suicidal threats. As a child I felt unsafe. As a teen I struggled between loving her and hating her.
When I became a believer I understood love for the first time, but it was easier to accept than to give.
By the time I was an adult my mom had made significant changes, but the effects of a childhood laced with instability and chaos still marked my heart. I asked God for a fresh start, not just for her sake, but for my own.
As I pored over the Scriptures, the word forgive continually leapt off the pages. God was speaking to me through His Word and giving me direction. I wasn't sure I could do it, but somehow knew freedom was on the other side.
The word forgive has different meanings in Scripture, and one of them is kaphar. That's a Greek word meaning to purge or pitch. It originates from the Hebrew word for atonement, which means to cleanse or cover.
Why is this meaning so important?
By beginning the process of forgiving, I was purging or pitching the entanglements of the past in order to begin anew. This could happen regardless of whether my mom completely changed or not.
This also allowed me to begin to see myself as a woman, rather than the child I once was. That changed my perspective from a limited view to one that included the chapters that God had always seen.
I saw the chapters in my mom's life. She was a girl who had a baby too young, married to a man who abused her. She had always desired to be a good mom, but no one had shown her how.
My new perspective allowed me to see the changes she was trying to make, and those already in place. This allowed me to accept the things that might never change.
It also created new chapters in our relationship as we began to connect without the filter of the past.
Kaphar forgiveness is a gift. It allows you to pitch the past and its entanglements, and it covers the new relationship with God's grace.
It also helps me to appreciate the small things, like the fact that my mom will always tell me to wear a coat. She will continue to wash the dishes before she places them in the dishwasher.
And we will continue to grow as mother and daughter.
The kaphar gift of forgiveness offers the opportunity for new chapters in a relationship . . . and a fresh slate upon which the words can be penned.
Dear Lord, will you help me begin the journey of forgiveness, pitching out the past to accept all that You have for me. . . and perhaps, even us, as we start fresh? In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
"In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another." Andy Stanley, Enemies of the Heart
Do you need to forgive someone? Here are two tips to help you reframe your relationship:
Practice the pause. Sometimes we offer a knee-jerk reaction based on the hurts of the past. Pausing allows you to think before you speak, to pray, and see the real issue instead of filtering the moment through old feelings.
Give it time. Transformation is a process, one that unfolds layers of hurt to reveal new skin underneath. It won't always be easy, and working through that pain just might be an answer to prayer.
Psalm 103:12, "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (NLT)
© 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105