But maybe it doesn’t have to be. Maybe we’re the ones making it hard on ourselves. After all, forgiving someone doesn’t change them, it changes you.
The popular social media blog Humans of New York shared a story about a non-existent relationship between a man and his father. The story was great, but it was one of the comments below that took the Internet by storm.
Jennifer Thomas commented with her daughter’s incredible story—one that taught this mama everything she needed to know about forgiveness:
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“My daughter has not seen her biological dad since she was four. She’s 11 now. When she was two, he contacted me and asked if I would allow him to terminate his parental rights so he could stop paying child support and I agreed… I wanted to spare her the heartache of a revolving door father and the sacrifice of the financial support was well worth him never being able to disappoint her again.
I never lied to her about where he went or who her dad was… I have always answered her questions in the most age appropriate way possible. When she was four, he contacted me and told me that he has been diagnosed with cancer and would like to see her.
I set aside a day and we met in the park. He had asked for two hours. He stayed 20 minutes and we never heard from him again.
Over the summer we ran into somebody that knows him and they commented on how she looks like his other children. They elaborated that he has settled down and has a family now.
My stomach tied itself in knots thinking of how hurtful that must be to my daughter. I cut the conversation short and we got in the car to leave and that’s when I saw her smiling.
She said, ‘Mom… he figured out how to be a dad. That’s such a nice thing. I’m happy for his kids.’
And that’s the day an 11-year-old taught me all I need to know about forgiveness.”
God calls us to have child-like faith. I like to think that includes child-like forgiveness. The lesson we can all learn from this 11-year-old is we need to take something that seems impossibly hard—forgiving people—and turn it into something simple.