Last week, my husband and I flew to Florida. While most people travel to the Orlando area in order to go to Disney World and all the other attractions Central Florida has to offer, our purpose was much more serious. Two of his cousins, who are brothers, have stage 4 cancer and one of them is in hospice.
Another brother, who lives in another part of the country is battling skin cancer once again. Their father has also battled cancer and their uncle (my father-in-law), is currently battling cancer for the second time as well. We are going to see him in about six weeks.
On Sunday there was a family get-together. At least there was supposed to be one. Four of the five siblings who lived in the area were supposed to come over but the youngest ended up having to work. He did come to see us beforehand however.
The brother who was in hospice managed to make it to his parents' house with the help of his wife and sons. He didn't want us to come to him. He wanted to come to us if he could and he did. His sister was there as well but the other brother with stage 4 cancer did not come.
Why? It seems that some time ago, he had a falling out with his sister and while she was willing to forgive and move on, he was not. He found out too late that we would be leaving the next day and unfortunately we missed seeing one another.
On Monday, I watched tears run down a dying man's face as his body shook with sobs. He was heartbroken because of the breach between his brother and sister. Couldn't his brother simply let go of his anger and pride and be reconciled with his sister? She was willing but he refused.
The pain of his dying paled in comparison to his grief over this breach. His brother was dying and yet he had allowed unforgiveness to not only remain rooted but flourish in his heart. In doing so, he brought not only great pain to his family but to himself and most of all, God.
Unforgiveness will destroy you. I did not say it could destroy you or that it might destroy you. It will destroy you unless you let go of it and allow God to replace it with forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not mean you must place yourself in a position that would allow that individual to hurt you again. There is a difference between forgiveness and foolishness. What it does mean is you have relinquished your hurt, your anger, your insistance of being judge, jury and executioner to God and God alone. In other words, you stop trying to be God.
If there is unforgiveness in your heart, do not delay. Get rid of it now. Just get rid of it. Yes, it can be hard, very hard but do your best and you can be assured that God will do the rest.
If you have trouble with forgiveness, ask yourself this question, "Did God forgive you?"