Monday, June 29, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. I've been considering how we need to forgive people who've offended us or hurt us, even if they don't ask for our forgiveness. This is because we need to forgive others to be obedient to God as well as it being good for our own well-being and peace. It feels good to forgive others and release any hurts you were hanging onto. Right after my separation from Chris, I knew I was going to have to forgive him, yes, but also the young women who played the other role in the heartbreaking situation. I felt personally offended by one and sorry for the other, knowing she had probably never heard the true gospel.

I've been thinking about my road of forgiveness towards these girls that I took and realizing that you can completely forgive someone in your own head and heart, but until you can extend that forgiveness to the person, it seems a little unfinished. I have been feeling lately like the ends needed to be tied up on the whole deal.

Well, after almost 3 years one young woman contacted me. She and I have known each other for 9 years now. We have a history. She tried to contact me 5 months after everything went down, but I couldn't even process the state of my life at the time, much less think of giving this young girl an opportunity to be open and honest with me. As my pastor said, it was like a bomb went off...a NUCLEAR bomb, that destroyed everything around me. For a while after, you're just looking around, walking toward the outside, taking in all of the destruction and processing it all. When she contacted me initially it was all still sinking in and the ramifications of it all were becoming more and more evident. I remember thinking at that time, "I want to forgive her. I plan to forgive her. I will forgive her, but I'm just not to that place yet where God is even working on me in that area." It was simply too soon (thank you Mindy).

However, if you know God, then you can surely imagine what He was going to do. He began a healing process. Not just in me, but in her, and even in Chris. It was so evident that His hand was the one at work. The world would have told me that I didn't need to forgive either of these people, because they did me wrong. I had a right to be angry! But without even battling it, God began a work in me.

Over time, I forgave them.

I can assure you that I am no super-Christian. Promise. Quite the contrary. Those who know me know that to be true. God did something in me and through me though, and I am so thankful. It was not me at all! He also did something in her. Now, we are both better women today than we were all those years ago.

So this young woman contacted me. It took us a while to work out a meeting time, but when we did, it just seemed perfect. Saturday we met at Starbucks. This is ironic for some of you who know more details. Nevertheless, we met on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with my gorgeous husband holding my hand the whole way. He was more nervous than I was. He was nervous for me, but I was ready. I was excited. It felt like the perfect time and the perfect way. I knew that I had forgiven this young woman a long time ago and now I was getting the opportunity to extend that forgiveness to her. I hoped God would be glorified through the whole process.

I think He was.

I thank God, and I know she does too for the sheer fact that He is so good to us!!! Seriously!! Have you ever thought about the fact that He even works out the good for us in spite of our sin? He has worked it all for good and made us more like Him in the process. How could I even utter the words, "I wish it had never happened"? I can't say that today. I can't say those words with Paul sitting at my side and knowing that somehow, someway, He worked it all for good. I'm certain that Paul is grateful too!!!

Isn't it just like the story of Joseph? Joseph was no one special, aside from the fact that God had picked him to be an instrument for His purposes. His brothers sinned against him and against God, no doubt!!! However, it was ALL with a purpose. Years later when God had worked in his brothers' hearts and Joseph ultimately found them begging his forgiveness, Joseph couldn't even hesitate in extending that forgiveness. It was all the plan of God for a greater good and a bigger picture. I feel like Joesph. No one special, yet I had the opportunity to see God orchestrate the details of our lives for a greater make us more like His Son. Thank you, Lord.

So, I feel like some of the strings have been tied up. It feels like a burden lifted to extend forgiveness. How could I NOT extend forgiveness to her when I know the horrific things my Savior died to forgive me of? How could I even hesitate?

Have you heard the true gospel? Have you heard that God sent His Son to put on skin and come to earth for a purpose? That purpose was to fix the sin problem and to save us from ourselves. There is nothing in us that is good, yet He can save you and make you like His Son Jesus. Don't even begin to think that this has anything to do with your amount of faith or love or commitment, or even seriousness towards this "decision." It has everything to do with what a holy God can do in your heart and soul. Not ONE of us deserves it or will ever prove ourselves worthy of it. It is a lie if we believe that! It is a free gift of God, so that NO one can boast about his wisdom or his choice. It is a GIFT to you. I am so thankful for this gift in my own life. The longer I have it, the more I realize how completely I DON'T deserve it. That's what makes it SO amazing!

So yes, I can forgive an offense, when a lifetime of sin against a holy God is completely forgiven for me. Thank you, Jesus!!


ann clary said...

Very well spoken Tamara. It is so good to see you in this place now. You have walked a difficult road and the Lord has been ever so faithful and good to you. Praise His name!

Amber Smith said...

What an encouraging post! I am so glad that you were freed of this burden that you've been carrying for all of this time. I totally agree, the longer I am a Christian, the more I realize I don't deserve it. I am glad to have personally witnessed this time of incredible spiritual growth in your life. I love you!

Mindy said...


Crying...yes, God has been magnificently glorified and it has been a sheer joy to walk through this time of healing and growth wilth you. Before we left for Maryland I couldn't of thought I could love you more, but I do. I love you and am so happy for you.


sheila said...

God is so unbelievably good.

Monica Chadwell said...

This is beautiful ... really beautiful. I'm so happy for you.

I loved what you said, "The longer I have it, the more I realize how completely I don't deserve it." So true. Very humbling indeed.

I hope you're all enjoying a fantastic time at Disney World!! Can't wait to see new pictures. ;-)