Commitment to Christ, Family, Forgiveness, Heart of the Matter, Living through heartache, Prayer, Walking by Faith

Benefits of Forgiveness: Let Anger Go

November 22, 2013
Let go of anger and forgive

Benefits of Forgiveness: Let Anger Go

There’s a lot written in the Bible about forgiveness, and it’s a very important part of relationships. Matthew 6:14 says “For if you forgive others their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Well, that makes forgiveness pretty important since our forgiveness is based on us forgiving others.
As families gather to celebrate the holidays, it’s so important that we have that forgiveness, and grace, to those closest to us. But sometimes that is not easy to do.
Fay Lamb is with me today and she has just written a book, and the theme of this novel is forgiveness. It’s called Better Than Revenge. Fay, welcome.
Fay: Thank you, Cynthia.
Cynthia: Tell us a little bit about Better Than Revenge.
Fay: Better Than Revenge is a novel about a young woman who is forced to endure a crime that tears her relationship with her fiance apart. She is raped, and not only is she raped but she finds herself pregnant with the rapist’s baby. Her boyfriend is sent to prison for a crime he did not commit, and they are separated for years.
Michael is her boyfriend, he’s released from prison several years later, and he ends up with a friend that you would not believe he could befriend. It’s the man who held the gun on him while his girlfriend was raped. So Better Than Revenge is a love story, but it’s also about Christ-like forgiveness.
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Cynthia: Tell me how you got the idea to do this.
Fay: Actually I was sitting on my porch one day and I was trying to think of a scene for a novel, and one of my characters, I always talk about my characters that they get on stage and they perform, but this one just kind of sat down in the chair in front of me and he said my name is Michael. And he goes there’s a little boy and I hate him. And he goes, and I don’t know how to forgive this child for being who he is.
As I began to get the feel for Michael I realized it was about forgiveness, that he needed to forgive. Not the little boy, but the man who had raped his girlfriend. And in that, Michael begins to understand that this little boy is a victim and he begins to understand that this little boy needs a father. And he takes up that role, in a way that you wouldn’t expect any man to have to do. But he accepts this boy as his child.
But in all of this Michael has learned how to forgive, and he tries to teach that forgiveness to the woman who was bodily harmed, and who has been unable to accept the things that have happened to her over the years.
Cynthia: Is there a situation in your life that this kind of reflects, that you had to forgive someone that was very difficult to let go?
Fay: In my life I never had anything like my characters had to forgive, but I had a lot of bitterness. I had a lot of, that belonged to me, why did they take that from me and my life. And one day I was sitting in the pew and our pastor began to talk about his Christian heritage. I looked up and I remembered distinctly saying that Lord, you didn’t give me that kind of heritage. And it was almost like the Lord thumped me on top of the head and said but you got the heritage that I gave to you, and you need to be thankful for what I’ve given.
And in order for me to be thankful I had to forgive the wrong that I thought people had done to me to take things away from me. When I did that I realized that I had the life that God gave me, and that all I needed to do to understand that was to forgive the things that I thought I had been wronged about. Whether I actually had, or whether someone had really harmed me. That’s what forgiveness is about. It’s about forgiving despite the fact that someone may not even know that they harmed you, or the fact that no one is there to accept the forgiveness, or they don’t really care that you’ve forgiven them.
That’s what I relate to the story.
Cynthia: I found it interesting to discover that even children know when they have been wronged. We have a very strong sense of justice inside of us and we do know when we have been wronged. Even a small child. They can’t tell you what it is, but they sense it. When we’ve been wronged we want to right that wrong in some fashion, and it’s very difficult for us to let that go.
But that’s important to do because that’s what Christ wants us to do. Because he is the one who takes vengeance. He’s the one who rights the wrong. Have you ever had any problems forgiving and then building trust again? Because I see that in your book too as a theme.
Fay: What was going on with the novel was that there’s this forgiveness here that Michael has, and his relationship with his friend, Kip. They begin this relationship, this friendship, and what you find out with Michael is that when he forgave Kip, even before he forgave Kip, Kip was already protecting him. Michael could have already trusted him. In fact, Michael comes to know the Lord through Kip’s Christ-like forgiveness. Because Michael actually sought revenge against Kip and did something horrendous to him.
But despite all of that, Kip is watching Michael’s back. They’re in prison together. Kip is really watching Michael’s back, and we find out how much that meant. Not only to Michael, but to Kip  as the book goes along.
It’s really hard to trust someone when you feel that they’ve done you wrong.
Cynthia: It is.
Fay: And you have to give it over to God. I keep thinking about Christ on that cross, and people. I actually had someone tell me, when I was pitching Better Than Revenge, that there is no such thing as Christ-like forgiveness, and I’m thinking Christ died on the cross. He forgave us, and he expects us to follow his example. How much more do we have, how much has Christ forgiven us that we can not forgive others no matter what they’ve done to us? That just doesn’t make sense.

Cynthia: I just noticed that in Issie’s case, when Issie comes into the story later, that there has to be a little bit of proving, to her, that all of a sudden she can’t just say okay Kip, it’s all okay, I’m just going to trust you from here on.

He has to do some things that actually prove to her that she can now trust him. And I think that’s probably closer to real life. We can let go of those sins sometimes, but that trust factor is a little bit harder to get built back. And the same is true in the story of Joseph. When his brothers came to town he didn’t just go say oh hello there, how are you doing, I’m just going to embrace you. But he wanted to find out first can I trust them. I forgave them, but can I now trust them.
So there’s a time factor sometimes in actually being able to trust them again.
Fay: Definitely. Kip really has to do something. And what Kip does is he saves the most precious thing in Issie’s life for her. In that she knows this is the new man that Michael has come to know. And then she further understands that Kip’s actions and leading Michael to Christ made Michael a better man for her. He was not the man, he did not protect her when she needed. But Kip, this man who did something horrendous to her, turned around and repaid her by bringing Christ to Michael and making Michael the man that could love her son. And that becomes important.
Cynthia: And he came all the way around to become a different person so that the was doing good instead of evil. After awhile, when you see that happening, you begin to be able to trust that person.
Fay: Yes. Forgiveness does not always mean that you open your doors wide to somebody and allow them to disrupt your life again. But it does open the doors so that you can step through and make the first gesture toward this reconciliation.
Cynthia: Absolutely.
Fay: And that’s what forgiveness is about. I watched the other day, on TV, we had an execution in Florida of a man who had killed this woman’s daughter. And I watched this woman on TV and she stood there. Now, I do believe the man needed to pay for his crime. I do believe in capital punishment. But here was this woman, and all that I can remember, the sole thing, is seeing the bitterness and the anger on her face. And this happened after she watched his execution, and I prayed. Dear Lord, break her heart, she needs the forgiveness because this is hurting her. He’s gone, he no longer on this side of heaven or hell, understands that this is harming her. And it’s affecting her life and her friendships and her family. She needs to let it go.
And that’s the importance of forgiveness
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Cynthia: It absolutely is. And you can look into any of the things on the Internet about mental health and they’re going to tell you to forgive. This is not just Christianity. You’re going to find it everywhere because it can destroy you if you don’t let go.
Fay: Yes it can. It can. And I know that even in a lesser thing, nothing as bad as what Izzy and Michael went through, but just holding these little grudges and not letting them go and it just builds up and it heats up this fire in your body, and it just destroys you.
Cynthia: It sure can.
Fay: And when you let it go, you’re free, and you understand that God has had reign in my life. That’s what forgiveness is about because he says in Colossians we need to encourage and hold each other up. We need to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. He doesn’t say you have an option. We have to forgive.
Cynthia: You have to, exactly. I know there’s been times that I’ve had a hard time forgiving, and what I have done, especially when the person never asks for forgiveness, is that I have taken it to God and said look, I believe that you’re big enough to deal with this because this is not your first time. It may be mine, but not yours. I’m going to let you take care of the situation and do the right thing and I’m going to walk away and leave it there.
And that’s the only way, sometimes, I can do it. Because I want to hang onto it, I want to get it back. But I know that God is more than capable of doing what needs to be done and I can let it go.
Fay: And I don’t think anyone should think that somebody if somebody begins to feel the need to forgive and God is piercing their heart, they shouldn’t think that okay, I can say I forgive and walk away. We are human beings and we are emotions. Certain things will bring up emotions and certain memories will bring up these feelings again. And like you said, just take it to God and say, Lord, I gave it to you, here I have it back, shame on me.
And in my case, realizing that God was everything on this earth that I needed, and nothing that anyone had done to me could take him away from me. That’s what heals me time and time again when I take my broken anger, my distrust, my pity party, to him. He is so faithful to just soothe me and to forgive me because I’m sinning when I’m angry with somebody else.
And if you think about that, if he’s faithful to forgive me when I fail to forgive, why can’t I forgive someone who hasn’t even asked me for it.
Cynthia: If you look at Christ in the New Testament, when people sinned he considered himself offended. Not just the person that was part of whatever happened, but he considered himself as God offended. So he’s going to deal with each situation, and I told my kids as they were growing up I think that’s the whole purpose of the final judgments. Is because God is going to sit down with each of these situations and he’s going to say okay, this didn’t get resolved in life, I’m going to resolve it now. I’m going to tell you who did wrong and who did right and we’re going to make it right now.
So we can look forward to that, even if it doesn’t happen here. Even if that person never says I’m sorry, I messed up, God can make it right. And we need to let him do it.
Fay: Yes. He can and he will. And he may even sit down with us and say you know, you had a spirit of offense and they really didn’t do what you thought they did to you. So if you come up and you’ve forgiven them for what you thought, isn’t it better to sit down with him and to have him say well done, you forgave this person, go. He didn’t need to be forgiven, but didn’t it free you up for just a better life?
He’s just so so faithful to us. And he should be the one that we take everything to. Our forgiveness, our sin, our sorrows. Everything belongs to him.
Cynthia: I like that passage in Hebrews that talks about how he is a merciful high priest. Because he was tempted in all ways, like we are, so he knows how it feels and we can take that to him and say look, I can’t deal with this again. Here I am again, it’s the same old topic that cropped up because X did something and it bothered me. He understands. He’s okay. And that’s where he wants us to be.
Fay: That’s what I truly believe. I really believe that.
Cynthia: Well, Fay, tell us where we can find you.
Fay: You can find me, my website is www.faylamb.com. I’m a big big believer in Facebook. I love to meet people on Facebook, I call them my friends. I don’t call them fans because I believe that our fans, if we have those, are friends to us. And I just love to communicate with people on Facebook. It’s Fay Thompson Lamb if you’re looking for me. I’m @faylamb on Twitter. My books are at Barnes and Noble, so I’m easily found.
Cynthia: She’s a tremendous author. I recommend her.
Learn more about Fay here.
Fay Lamb

Fay Lamb

Tweetables:
[tweetthis]Forgiveness frees you from carrying the heavy burden of revengs[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]Forgive! It’s healthy.[/tweetthis]

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3 Comments

  • Reply Judy B November 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Hurting and broken I needed to read every word of this post. Thank you so much!

    Blessings!
    Judy B

  • Reply Fay Lamb November 22, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Cynthia: I enjoyed speaking with you. Thank you, yet again.

  • Reply Cynthia L Simmons November 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Judy, thanks for letting me know. I pray God leads you into the healing of Christlike forgiveness.

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