If you came over from Encouragment for Today devo, welcome! I’m so glad you are here.
As I wrote the book, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness, I asked six very brave women to come along for the journey.
These women, who were in all stages of forgiving, challenged me when I didn’t dig deep enough, or gave an aswer that might have fit my life, but not where they were. As I wrote about the possibilities of a fresh start, one wrote this email:
Reading your words about your mom makes me feel like a kid standing in front of a beautiful candy store window with empty pockets. I will never, ever have a fresh start with my own mom.
Then she asked, “How is it possible for me to kaphar forgive when it’s no longer an option?”
It may seem impossible to start fresh when a person refuses to change or because that person is no longer in the picture.
While I know what it is to work toward a fresh start and to actually receive it with my beautiful mom, I also know what it is for that door to shut firmly.
My biological father’s last words as I reached out were, “I don’t even know if you are mine.” I will never have the opportunity for a fresh start.
I also know what it is to remain in a chaotic relationship with a loved one as I work toward my own fresh start, regardless of this individual’s choice to heal or change.
Kaphar forgiveness can take place in all of these situations.
It’s not unusual to carry a burden of unforgiveness long after someone has died, of if they’ve continued in their behavior and you’ve had to shut the door on the relationship to stay safe, or they just stay away.
Kaphar forgiving offers a fresh start in a new way in these instances. Rather than a one-to-one personal encounter, it can mean “coming to an understanding,” even if no one else signs up. That in itself can powerfully lead to an unburdened heart as you kaphar forgive.
In my biological father’s case, I couldn’t push my way into his heart. Yet I could fully understand that He was valuable to God, even in his brokenness, and to fully accept my Heavenly Father’s love in the absence of an earthly father’s love.
This helped me to purge the past as I lived 100% whole in relationship with God, and my own children, and family. It also created a pitch of sorts, a covering where God was my needmeeter, rather than a person.
In my relationship with someone who wasn’t ready for a fresh start, I could create a fresh start in my own life as I prayed for this person, as I stopped allowing their brokenness to fracture me, and as I gained compassion and hope to replace anger, frustration, and futility.
Forgiving isn’t easy. Can we just say that out loud?
And yet gaining a fresh start, no matter what that looks like, is one of the most powerful gifts we can give, and in turn, receive as we forgive.
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