The Nature of Forgiveness

forgiveness

Forgiveness is easier said than done. Many times. it is a matter of pride with a dose of anger that keeps us from true forgiveness. Christ took me to Asia to experience forgiveness at a level I could not imagine.

Ephesians 4: 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

forgivenessOur Teach To Transform training focused on medical training for the women’s ministry who was caring for widows in the villages who had HIV/AIDS. The compassionate, loving care for those widows in the name of Christ consisted of wound care and physical therapy as many had bedsores because they were bedridden from the devastation of AIDS. The government had abandoned their responsibility to these women, so the Christian women we trained provided the palliative care to ease the suffering and share the gospel.

forgivenessAs we did home visits going from house to house, the severe and overwhelming isolation of the widows and their family was heartbreaking. The stigma for patients with AIDS, as well as their families, is seen all over the world. The women are reluctant to be tested because of community isolation and embarrassment, but the caregivers encourage testing of those who are pregnant to protect their unborn children by taking antiviral medication.

The divine appointment that Christ had planned for us was not only the power of love through physical and spiritual compassion shown by the caregivers, but the fact that all of the caregivers we trained were AIDS positive as well.

Their stories were consistent in that they all had contracted AIDS through the infidelity of their husbands and were widows raising their children with a sense of empowerment of being a survivor.

One by one they told stories of betrayal, and loneliness as their husbands succumbed to the disease. They spoke of anger toward their husband and the pain of abandonment. Most were Hindu and were introduced to Christ by the compassionate, loving support of local Christians. All our teachers had come to know Christ and had a passion for serving those who were dealing with the same tragedy. They were steadfast in their faith and loving toward those widows dying from AIDS.

The inspiring part of their story was when I asked them, “What one thing would you change in your life story if you could?

Their answer was amazing.

Not that they married a man that was unfaithful.
Not that they had AIDS and their life changed in an instant with one blood test.
Not the loneliness and isolation.
Not their neighbors who abandoned them.
Not the embarrassment and pain endured by their children.

The biggest regret and one thing they would change was that they did not care for their unfaithful husbands who gave them AIDS. Their anger kept them from showing compassion and love for their husbands who were suffering, as AIDS ravaged their bodies.

They said Christ taught them about compassion and convicted them through this terrible situation about Forgiveness. They did not regret their life journey because it was this disease that lead them to Christ.

Are you ready and able to forgive someone who has hurt you?

forgiveness

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

As we concluded our training, our team prayed about a closing ceremony for the  graduation. We decided to model Christ’s example of serving and wash the feet of these compassionate, forgiving women. We loved them for their grace to help in communities that at one time shunned them.

It was finally time that someone loved them and served them in the name of Christ.

forgivenessSince we have left this area, these courageous women have been showing love and compassion to the widows in their villages dying from AIDS and caring for the orphans left behind.

They are an inspiration to all of us as they indeed are a picture of Christ.

Please pray for them.

I pray Christ gives you a divine opportunity to forgive someone who has hurt you.

Jesus Christ changes everything.

For His Glory,
Tom

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