What is forgiveness? Part Two


I am so tempted to think sometimes, why did God allow this to happen? Why? Why? Why does he allow so much pain?

It is not far from there to say, I hate God.

I know someone whose young daughter was diagnosed with cancer. The girl was probably 8 years old when they first found brain cancer. This girl was three things — she was cute as a button, she was immensely kind and patient, and she was the apple of her mother’s eye. Surgery removed a mass, but the girl was still all these three. She seemed to become more kind and patient. Then chemo came and her hair fell out. She was not quite as cute in some people’s eyes. The hair grew back but so did the cancer. Her mother was determined to not lose her daughter. She pressed the doctors. They tried one thing after another. Each thing came with pain and destruction. The doctors gave up hope but not her mother. She sought alternative medicine. More pain, more destruction.

The girl was no longer very cute, but she was still sweet, but very very very tired. Finally this sweet girl passed away to meet her Lord. But the mother was deeply hurt. Oh how she loved her daughter, and the hurt became anger toward God. Not a single one of us can fault her. Fierce anger. I know that anger. She would have nothing to do with the God who had taken her daughter. And so her pain did not go away. It did not diminish. She found no peace, only torment.

Have you been here? Are you there now?

God gave people free choice. You don’t have to acknowledge God. You can ignore him. You can hate him. You can count him worthless, dishonest, a monster. But He still loves you like this mother her daughter. People cause most of the pain in our lives. It is their free choice. Even a brain tumor might be human caused possibly by a business which poisoned the water, or possibly from a release of nuclear material that created a mutation.

But then maybe it was a natural random cause – such as from a cosmic ray. Everything that God allows in his creation has a purpose and is part of the balance necessary for life on earth. He takes no pleasure in allowing this pain. But his perspective is much much bigger. He knows the complete sweetness and surrender of this dear girl and he now cherishes her and comforts her for all eternity. She has forgotten her pain. But the goodness it produced remains.

Forgiving God seems absurd, but without it we are cut off from him by our own choosing. We are adrift in a sea of never ending pain, no horizon in sight. It is a sin to hold a grudge against God, for to hold it is to not believe that he is good. But he is good, always! All the time. He is good.

Did you act last week in taking steps one and two? Now simply admit your anger toward God and tell him you are willing to forgive. Ask him to help you forgive. And ask him to forgive you for your anger. Believe me his heart is breaking as much as yours and he will forgive you and accept you with open arms. I know this, forgiving God opened the door to my healing.

This is Part 2 of the series on Forgiveness. This second act is Forgiving God. For more help call Pastor Dan,740-239-3539, Court House Nazarene Church.

By Rev. Daniel McLean, Ph.D.

Religion Writer

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