He was in the dusk of his final days and I knew the time was drawing near that I would need to either step out or lose all chance of receiving the one thing that I needed most from him. Forgiveness. I had stalled on this conversation for years and allowed time and distance to be the manifestation of my fear and neglect to the relationship. I had ignored, time and time again, the prompting of the Holy Spirit to reach out, dig deep and allow humility to heal not only the relationship I ruined but also, my broken and contrite heart. My heart, in this situation…lay broken and battered from the abuse I had inflicted on it from the decisions I had made and continued to make.
Yes, I had done this. And to me, there was no coming back or restoration that could be had. Was it worth a try? Absolutely not.
Would the fear of not knowing if restoration was possible, add water the streams of unforgiveness and create a river of bitterness that would flow into an ocean of endless waves of grief, self-doubt and loathing every time I remembered?
I knew that it would and to live on without this man and a lack of forgiveness consuming my heart, it was unbearable to consider. I knew I must step in faith, knowing whatever the outcome, I had peace in the offering. No matter how selfish it felt to know that I would remain among the living with sweet relief while he lay riddled with cancer…I had to act.
And then I found myself in Psalm 51. David. His sin in the matter of Uriah. Murder. Adultery. His feelings of separation with God. And his holy repentance.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” (v 10-11)
David’s anguish before God and his pleas for a clean heart and a right spirit align in us all our inherent need for the presence of the One that formed us. The cries of a broken and contrite heart to the One that began it’s beating…
“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (v 15-17)
A Holy God. And His assurance in His Word that He would not despise a broken and contrite heart.
I had wounded, abused, beat up, thrown down and despised my heart time and time again for my transgressions and He would not? WOW. This was the moment where fear and selfishness no longer had a voice because true repentance and humility sang the sweet tune of praise to a God that restores, redeems and forgives. And in that moment, He did just that.
And courage found it’s place and love walked me through it.
And forgiveness was given.
From both my God and my Tribe.
And myself. To myself.
In fact, that night that I sat weeping in my home office, writing words of repentance that I wished I could say in person, God gave me the most beautiful vision of Heaven that I was able to end my letter with giving comfort that this man could have in the knowledge he was already resting in the arms of his Father and Creator.
My letter was read to him just a short time before the sun finally set and the heavens welcomed this warrior. As he lay weeping, he said these words…
“You tell her I forgave her a long time ago…”
“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” (Psalm 103, v 10-13)