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By Andrea Johnson

“Forgiveness is giving up your right to be angry.” That quote came from Open Bible minister Curt Arne during one of the best sermons I ever heard on the subject. I copied it in the front of my Bible.

Sometimes forgiveness is easy. Someone accidentally bumps into you and apologizes. But sometimes forgiveness takes time.

My dad loved holding grudges and getting even for every little slight, real or imagined, reveling in elaborate revenge strategies. Even at his death he purposely left his financial affairs in disarray for the rest of us to deal with because he was angry about a previous perceived slight in our mom’s will. Growing up, I hated the way he treated my siblings and my mom (and eventually my own children). Later on when our mother was fighting cancer and needed him most, he spent his days with a “widow lady” whom he moved in with as soon as Mom passed. His behavior caused me to wonder: How do you forgive someone who keeps on intentionally hurting the ones you love?

I found that forgiving my dad did not mean I needed to continue to subject my children or myself to his vengeful antics. I did not need to enable his behavior by providing fodder for his anger. I set clear boundaries and told him exactly what they were.

I like what Julie Cole says in here article, 6 Overlooked Elements of Forgiveness: “In some situations, restoring the relationship with someone who has harmed you isn’t wise. In other situations the resulting relationship may look different than it did before and have different boundaries.”

I also like that it is not my job to avenge. I can leave that up to God. I can hand all my anger, no matter how “righteous,” and my “need for justice” over to Him. How much easier my dad’s life would have been had he had that revelation.

About The Author

Andrea Johnson
Managing Editor

In her spare time you will most likely find Andrea Johnson with family or friends, or outdoors hiking. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with four children and five grandchildren.