Stunning Silence: My story of forgiveness | Women

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Stunning Silence: My story of forgiveness

Chain with cross on it
Posted May 24, 2017

The more I move amoung people, the more I see wells of unforgiveness in their lives.

Whether unconcious, intentional or just accumulated offence - these wells of unforgiveness sadly yield only poison water for the person that remains unforgiving.

Unforgiveness can be tucked away in memories, events, words and actions that still offend, hurt and annoy. These offences not only prevent us from having fellowship with that person – but also from having fellowship with God.

I am going to tell you a personal story of unforgiveness in my own life.

At the age of 10 years, during the Christmas school holidays, I had the two sweetest, fattest and most adorable puppies for my companions. Oh, how I loved these two wee creatures! I dressed them in my dolls clothes, wheeled them in my dolls pram and they ran lovingly beside me everywhere I went! 

I loved them, and they loved me.

A gun shot

But as the holidays came to a close, my father decided that the puppies could no longer stay. No homes were available, so he decided they were to be taken, and shot.

I was absolutely devastated.

He gave no explanation, showed no remorse and gave no apology - it was just another thing to cross off the list. The puppies were taken that afternoon. They were shot and buried along the nearby river bank.

My world that day was very dark.

My young mind went into hate mode toward my father. I felt so angry and helpless - I had no voice, no input, just nothing. The next weekend, a friend biked two miles to join me with a spade and together we went to find the puppies' grave. We dug my little friends up and gently wrapped them in some old material I had found at home.

We carefully covered them over with sand, placing a small bunch of flowers we had picked on the top of their grave before sadly returning home.

Nothing but silence

No one argued with my father.

I had never had a close relationship with him – and now the gap only widened. He didn't seem to notice... I was only a child, what did my feelings matter? I always wished I was special to him. I missed that special father's love that little girls crave... but who cares I told myself - I don't need him. But I did care and I did need him.

There were deep hurts, unhealed, carried within me each day.

As an adult, forty years on and after my father's death, my brother and I were invited to be part of a restorative ‘The Sycamore’ programme at our local prison. Part of the course was for both the victim and the offender to share something that had been done to them.

My brother shared about the thrashings for very little, harsh words and discipline that were very hard to endure for any child at the hands of their father.

He then said that as a teenager he came to know Jesus as his Saviour and was able to forgive our father and build a relationship with him. His story was very hard for me to hear, and I fought to keep from crying. The next morning, I awoke still feeling very tearful… this was unusual. 'What was wrong?' I wondered. Then it hit me full force: my beloved puppies.

Forty years later God was prompting me to finally forgive my father.

The release of forgiveness

Crying, I said out loud - ‘Dad, I forgive you.'

And I did. Oh, what a rush of emotions, but what an enormous freedom as well! I do really encourage anyone holding onto unforgiveness, intentionally, or not - don't keep on dragging it around with you! Scripture tells us the importance of forgiveness many times, here are just three: 

Matthew 18: 21-22: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”. Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Colossians 3:13: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Surely as God tells us to forgive, he forgives us. AWESOME!

Do you want to be free too?

Matthew 6:14-15 ‘For, if you forgive men, when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you don't forgive men, when they sin against you, your Father will not forgive you.’

Unforgiveness is not healthy for us. It can result in depression, irrational thoughts and illness if we let it fester and get out of control. Maybe you feel you can't forgive someone in your life for something done to you. Is it because you can't face it, the person is physically not there - maybe they have even passed away? Or perhaps you just think ‘Why should I?’.

If you are in this situation today... maybe we can say this small prayer today (wherever you are) together:

Lord, give me the strength to forgive.

Lead me to the right words. Help me, I beg you, to be freed from this awful sense of injustice. Heal the words and bring release as I forgive [name the person and situation]. I thank you that I am forgiven by the sacrifice of Christ, so that I am may be free from all things. Help me to forgive today, because you ask me to.

Letting go of this awful form of bondage will bring such a release! If you would like someone to pray with you or for you confidentially - please send a message to We would love to intercede for you (and if you don't wish to be contacted or receive a reply, just title the subject line 'Private'.

Blessings to you all.

WM writer Betty Thompson