Vaneetha Rendall Risner delivered a message titled “Forgiveness: The Hardest and Most Life-Changing Thing We Can Do” at TGC’s 2021 Women’s Conference. Speaking from her own difficult experience learning to forgive someone who had hurt her deeply, she encouraged those listening to explore and understand what forgiveness really is—allowing God to heal them through the process.
Risner clarified what forgiveness is and, just as importantly, what it is not, as she outlined what it means to forgive in a healthy, biblical manner.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Vaneetha Rendall Risner: I hated her. I woke up in the middle of the night with knots in my stomach. In my mind, it was all Tiffany’s fault. She had broken up my marriage. Dave and I had been married for 18 years, we had two adolescent daughters, we’d buried a son together. This was all her fault. I really couldn’t ever think about forgiving her, I was so angry. I wanted her to hurt the way I had been hurt. And I pictured, lots of ways that could happen. I got a twisted satisfaction about thinking that she would cry herself to sleep every night, that she would feel betrayed, and rejected. But God had a different plan for me. And he gently put into my mind, the idea of forgiveness. At first, I was angry, I didn’t think I should ever have to forgive that. And I kept talking to God about it saying, I can’t, I won’t. But God wouldn’t let that idea go. And so slowly, gently, he brought different ways for me to forgive. And what happened after that is nothing short of miraculous, because I was able to forgive her.
And God set me free from being bitter from rolling over in my head. All the hard things I wanted to happen to her. As well as the way I felt like my life would never be the same. God changed me through forgiveness. And that’s why I’m here today to talk about forgiveness, because it has changed my life. And I’m praying that it will change your life too. I recently wrote my memoir, walking through fire. And it really could have been called walking through forgiveness, because forgiveness has changed my life, as much as anything. But I don’t want you to think that I’m a forgiveness graduate, that I know everything about forgiveness, and then I’ve forgiven everyone, because that would not be true. I struggle with forgiveness, even now. I think about little petty things.
If somebody overlooks me, or I feel unappreciated, I can hold a grudge if somebody doesn’t write me a thank you note at times, so and I don’t even write thank you notes. So I’m really good at holding petty little things in. But when God brings those to mind, I do the same thing that I do for the big things. There’s a process that I go through that God has really shown me has brought me freedom. So I do the same things for the big things as the little. They’re people in here today that have huge things to forgive. And I understand that it probably feels impossible to forgive someone who is deeply wounded you and take in something very precious from you. And I would say if you have that, just be patient with yourself, I don’t expect anyone to walk out of here saying I’m going to forgive these deep wins right away.
But just let yourself be open to the idea that God can change you through that. But I would encourage everyone here today, to think about somebody that you need to forgive of something that’s not that big, something minor, but somebody that you kind of when you think about them, you think, Wow, I’m kind of annoyed that they did that. And if you can’t think of who that is, you’re really a wonderful person. But if you can’t think of that, think about the person maybe that if people are gossiping about them, you don’t mind joining in the gossip. That may be the person that you need to forgive. So as I’m talking today, I would love for you to think about that person. So today in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to talk to you about what forgiveness is and what it’s not because terms are really important.
Then I’m going to talk about why we forgive and then how we forgive how I forgave. And lastly, what are the results of forgiveness. Because through forgiveness, God will heal you set you free and produce something beautiful. I want to start off as I said, defining forgiveness because there are many definitions of forgiveness and people think of forgiveness differently. My definition is giving up the right to hurt you for hurting me. Giving up the right to hurt you for hurting me. It’s letting go of bitterness and resentment and it’s giving up the desire Revenge, I think a lot of us think about ways that we can get back at someone and forgiveness is giving that up. Forgiveness under my definition is a unilateral act.
It is not conditional on the person’s repentance, or even their willingness to acknowledge what they’ve done. It’s not dependent on the person at all. I see it as a vertical act, it is something that you do with God. Christian forgiveness is about you and your relationship with the Lord. Now, I realize this may be different from some of your definitions of forgiveness. But this is the one I’m going to use all the way through the talk. But I want to be clear about what forgiveness is not. It is not minimizing what has happened, condoning it, or saying it’s not a big deal. It’s not making any excuses for what the person did, when it’s not letting the person off the hook.
But then, another thing is this definition, which is letting go of bitterness, does not mean ever putting up with abuse of any kind. It does not mean that we can’t pursue legal action, because often that’s important, both for the offender, they need rehabilitation, as well as protecting other victims, or for lots of other reasons. So forgiveness does not mean you can’t pursue legal action. It does not mean trusting the person again. And it doesn’t mean reconciliation or restoration. So forgiveness is not holding bitterness, reconciliation is coming to friendly terms, friendly relationship with the person who has offended you.
And restoration is reinstating the relationship to the way it was before. But those things, reconciliation and restoration are conditional. They’re conditional on the person’s repentance, which is genuine sorrow over their sin and turning from their sin towards God. They’re conditional on a humble willingness to accept the consequences. And they’re conditional on a desire by both parties to work on the relationship. So none of those things are required in forgiveness. And I want to give you an example, my ex husband had an affair very early in our marriage. And I struggled to forgive him, we went to counseling, and I saw a huge change in his life. He was a different person, and he repented.
And we decided to put our marriage back together through counseling, and we had a great marriage for 15 years. I have no regrets about that. So that was repentance involved. So we had reconciliation and restoration. But then the situation that I mentioned, at the start of this, my ex husband stayed with the person that he was with, and we did not restore. So there was no restoration. But I still felt called to reconcile with him, meaning we were unfriendly terms. And that was an act of God. And we both wanted to work on that. And both wanted to do that. And he was repentant. But it did not mean restoration.
So I just want to be clear, because sometimes people feel if you forgive someone, you need to go back to them. And that is not the case. Well, I hope that clarifies my terminology. So now I want to talk about why we forgive. So the first and most important reason of why we forgive is because Christ commands us to the Lord’s prayer and Matthew six, it says, forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And then Jesus goes on to say, if you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your father will not forgive your sense. That is a sobering statement. And throughout Scripture, the Lord intertwines His forgiveness of us with our forgiveness of others.
That’s an incredible thing that God forgives us of our sins. And when we really understand that, whatever we have to forgive other people is minor in comparison. But I have to admit, sometimes I think what somebody else has done to me is worse than anything I’ve ever done. And some of you might be like that too. I’m sometimes I think, way too highly of myself. And, for example, this Lent I asked God, show me my sin. It was a tough let, let me tell you because I saw how many times I agree God’s heart, I was really convicted of my lack of love for people.
So if anyone here feels like, oh, somebody has done something much worse for me to me than I have ever done, really peel back and ask God to do that for you. And I think you’ll be really surprised at what you really could be capable of. So I would just encourage you, when you think about what God has forgiven you that there really is nothing anybody can do. That is even close to what God had to forgive us. Ephesians 532 says, Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
And so throughout Scripture, you will see over and over again, that God calls us to forgive as he forgave. And he also calls us to not hold bitterness. And you see that throughout Scripture, to let go of bitterness, and to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. And so these are commands that God gives us and like all of God’s commands, he will enable us to follow through with them. But the other amazing thing about all of God’s commands, is they’re all good for us. They are ultimately for our good. And so that’s the second reason that we forgive is for our good.
Because through forgiveness, God heals us, he sets us free, and he produces something beautiful. So one of the greatest benefits to us of forgiveness is that it heals us. Now we when we have something to forgive, we’re wounded somebody has hurt us deeply, often. So we have this wound. But then unforgiveness and bitterness is like pouring poison into the wind. And when you pour poison into a wound, it’s going to fester. It’s going to get infected, it’s going to be much worse than the initial wind. And so in some ways, when you hold bitterness against someone, you’re paying twice because you’ve been wounded, and now the wounds gotten infected, and it has spread throughout your body. And that almost can define you and I think all of us know people who are defined by bitterness, and some of us ourselves have been defined by bitterness at times.
I love this quote by Frederick buechner. It’s about anger, but I think of it as about bitterness and unforgiveness. He says of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun to lick your wounds to smack your lips over grievances long past to roll over your tongue, the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come. to savor to the last tooth, some morsel, both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back. In many ways, it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is what you are wolfing down is yourself the skeleton at the feast is you the felt skeleton at the feast is us. We are destroying ourselves when we hold on to bitterness. And when we forgive, we are keeping the wind clean.
Someone once said that to me when I had been deeply hurt by something, they made the comment keep the wound clean. That was great advice because you we’ve all been wounded by people. And bitterness is just going to make it fester. And if we, if we aren’t better, it’s still going to leave a scar. I am not going to say our deep wounds, they will leave a scar. But a scar is an evidence of a healed wound. It doesn’t hurt anymore. And so that’s why forgiveness can be such a beautiful thing. It’s not that it takes away the wound, but it lets the wound heal.
And aside from all of this, these biblical reasons and the reasons that are good for us, medical science says that unforgiveness is like poison as well. It’s destructive. It releases cortisol, which is a stress hormone, which leads to all kinds of disease. They say high anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, even cancer have been linked to not forgiving. And not only can forgiveness help heal our body, it sets us free. We think we’re putting somebody else in prison and that’s really all that we have to do so that we are kind of holding them captive.
By not forgiving them. And in some ways that could be true and that we are maybe refusing to have a relationship with them. But we are really the ones held captive, because we are thinking about them all the time. When I’m bitter against somebody, I’m thinking about them, and they are not thinking about me at all. And so I’m the one in prison. And forgiveness just sets you free from that. I opened talking about Tiffany and the way I wanted her to hurt the way she had hurt me. And forgiveness gave me a freedom that I can’t even describe, even though I didn’t want it at first, honestly. But in addition to finding freedom, when I forgave Tiffany, God opened up this beautiful channel of relationship with Him.
And I’ve found that has happened. Every single time I’ve forgiven someone, I find myself connected more deeply to God, my time with God is much deeper, I feel this freedom with him. And I think unforgiveness sometimes just blocks that channel with the Lord. And we don’t even know that. But we may even start off when we’re reading the Bible or talking to people, and it’s in the back of our heads. And I think bitterness does not ever coincide with joy. So we can’t have joy if we have bitterness. And I think when we get rid of that bitterness, the joy of the Lord can really flow through us. So through forgiveness, God has healed me, he set me free, and he’s produced something beautiful. So now I’ve talked about why we forgive, I’m going to go over how we do it, or at least the steps that I take.
Now, the first thing I do is ask God for help. And that is the most important step of all of all the things I’m going to talk about. It’s the most important thing is just asking the Lord to help you. I usually say I can’t do this, I don’t want to do this. I in God just says I just want your willingness, he does the rest. Because honestly, for me, the first step of forgiveness feels like death. Now I know I just went over all these wonderful benefits for forgiveness. So you’re probably thinking, if you see all of these things, why is this so hard for you? Well, it just is, I want to hold on to my bitterness. And I want to hold on to resentment.
So if you are sitting here today saying I want to hold on to that, I get it, I want to hold on to it too. And it’s really just asking God make me willing help me just to do that. And he does. When it happened with Tiffany, it happened with a doctor who took my son off medicine, which later, he ended up dying because of that. And there were so many things that I did not want to forgive. But God kept at me and said, You need to I need your willingness. That’s all I need. And I’ll do the rest. Well, the next step after asking for God’s help, for me is to acknowledge what’s hard. Acknowledge what’s happened. No, no it, name it, and bring it to the light.
I don’t think wounds that are left untreated, will heal. And I don’t think the bitterness that we bury will heal either. There’s a lot of power and bringing things to the light. But the one thing I would say is if it’s something that you have buried, it’s going to bring up some anger at first. So just be prepared for that. But that anger is a process that you give to God and you work through it.
And sometimes it may feel for some people here, it’s easier to deny it. If it’s something deep, it may feel like I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to go to counseling about it. I just want to forget it. But I don’t know anyone who’s really healed from something that has just forgotten it. Because if it’s a deep life changing wound, it really needs to be acknowledged. And one of the things I do for my my ex husband’s betrayal was just naming and writing down everything that was hard. Everything that happened, everything that I felt that I had lost, both from my present, and from my future, all of the consequences.
So I would recommend, you know, I have a journal and it’s my forgiveness journal. And I write down all kinds of random things that I need to forgive but I don’t need to carry it in my head. Because I find if I don’t write it down, I kind of want to remember it because sometimes I think I might need to bring that up again. If you have it in your book. You can Know that it’s safe there. And it also, for me, it has helped legitimize what I’ve been through. Because sometimes I don’t even want to articulate it, and then it has this power over me. But when I can articulate it, I feel like I see it. And I think that is that’s legitimate. That’s why I am upset, and that has helped me. And then I look at the list. And I asked God to help me forgive.
And that means I understand what I’m asking God, to forgive, to help me forgive. And that has been huge for me is really understanding in full what I am asking, and things are going to come up though you think you’ve written I’ve written for days, and I think I’ve gotten it all. And then something new will come up. And I’ll just add it and just ask God in that moment, please help me forgive this. And God does. He’s so faithful in that. Once the beginning, I asked everyone to think about something minor that somebody has done that you need to forgive? Well, I would like to do a short exercise with everyone watching on Livestream and everyone here in this silence that will follow which will just be a minute or two.
First, ask the Lord to help you in this process. And as I mentioned, it’s not a deep life changing thing, but just something that’s bothering you. You may want to tell the Lord, you don’t want to forgive this person. But you want him to help you give you that willingness. And then in your notebooks, I would love for you to jot down for a minute, what that person did to hurt you what feels unfair about it, and just write whatever comes to mind. Don’t filter, uh, don’t, don’t look at anybody else’s paper at home, make sure just right. And I’m just gonna be praying for you for a minute as you do that.
Well, that’s all the time that we have right this minute for this exercise. But I’m praying that as you’ve started it, you’ll want to go back and finish it. And you’ll just start thinking, before I can forgive, I need to just understand what I’m forgiving. But now we’ll move on to the next step, which you could actually do with this person if you wanted to, or you could totally do it later. And that is the decision. So the third step of forgiveness is a process. But it starts with a decision.
And the decision can be pretty simple. Something like saying to the Lord, because of the cross, Lord, as an act of my will. I forgive blank. Right now. I release all anger and resentment towards him or her. And I ask that your forgiveness, flow through me to blank replace my anger with your love. So I’m going to say that again. Because of the cross, Lord, as an act of my will, I forgive blank right now. I release all anger and resentment towards him or her. And I ask that your forgiveness would flow through me to blank replace my anger with your love. The first there actually this step of the decision is an act of our well you don’t have to feel anything. Honestly. You just need to say it. It’s a decision. And with the decision comes the power of God. I love that john 15 says he is the vine, we’re the branches. And branches can be grafted into the vine. But they are only grafted in, in the place of wounding.
So for gardeners, they have to cut it and there’s a wound and you attach that to a wound in the vine. And that’s how something is grafted in. I think when we forgive, it’s a place of our wounding. And we graft into Christ, and his forgiveness where his winds, and I see God’s forgiveness and God’s power flow through my life at that decision point, just by asking God to change me. So for me forgiving, Tiffany began with a decision. And I was actually reading a book, and there was a quote about loving people who have betrayed or hurt us. And the quote, ended with this is God’s love, it conquers the world. And somehow reading that, quote, changed me.
And that was the start of my process. Well, after the decision does come a process, and so to, for me to forgive Tiffany, or to forgive anyone that has hurt me, whenever bitterness comes up, or just memories, or new consequences. The fourth step is to release and not rehearse. So release the memories, all the things that you want to keep in the back of your mind that keep coming up, release them, and do not rehearse them, do not keep saying them over and over to yourself, which is what I opened with, that’s what I was doing in the morning, I would wake up and I could remember all of these things. So that was my rehearsing. So release that.
And then ask God to replace that, because when you release it, you want to replace it with something. And Philippians, four, eight reminds us, finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable. If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Think about those things, think about what is good, and lovely and pure. And that has often helped me. Now there’s different ways you can do that. One, you can think about something positive about the person, often it’s a friend, maybe that’s hurt you. But there are ways this person has really blessed you. And forgiveness for me often is just seeing things from their perspective. It’s really thinking about the positive things about them.
Often, it’s being compassionate for what might be going on in their life. Sometimes it’s just praying for them. And I have found that often when I’m tempted to be angry and be bitter, I just pray and say, God, help me help me to think about something else. And I didn’t do that just once, I must have done that 100 times and forgiving Tiffany, and God met me there. And he helped me think about scripture and all kinds of other things. And so I and I kept reminding myself of those words, this is God’s love. It conquers the world. And so the fifth step, which I just mentioned, is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. It’s just to replace think of Philippians four, eight.
Now, I want to reiterate, though, that we can’t forget offenses, a lot of people say, we have to forget that’s part of forgiveness. I don’t really know how we forget personally, because we can’t erase them from our memory, especially life changing things, we can erase certain things. But I prefer to say we choose not to remember, we don’t dwell on them. Let’s like Joseph in the Old Testament, for those of you who are familiar with the story or not familiar, Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob. His father adored him, bought made him a coat of many colors. And his brothers were very jealous of him. They kidnapped him. They almost killed him. And they sold him into slavery. And after he was enslaved, he was wrongfully put in prison. So he was 17 years old when he was kidnapped. And he was 30 years old when he was released from prison. So that was 13 years of a lot of misery. And when Joseph got out of prison, his his first born son, he named manassa, which means God has made me forget all my hardship, and my father’s house. God has made me forget all my hardship, and all my father’s house. That was incredible, considering the Bible tells us that Joseph begged his brothers, not to do that to him. And they didn’t listen.
And I’m sure if any of you have begged somebody, not to hurt you not to do something, and they didn’t listen, you know what that feels like? This was there, his brothers, you don’t forget that. And Joseph didn’t forget it either. He remembered when he saw his brothers again, he remembered he knew what had happened. But he had chosen not to remember. And that means he chose not to dwell on it. And he didn’t hold bitterness against them. And so that’s what I would say, instead of saying, I need to forget, I need to not remember, I need to not hold bitterness.
And because of that, Joseph was able to forgive his brothers, and reconcile with them because he was ready. He had not held bitterness all of those years. Joseph also saw that God was using his suffering for good that he God was doing something much bigger than he could have ever known in the midst of 13 years of slavery and prison. Genesis 5020 says, You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. So that, to me is the last step of forgiveness is realizing God is doing something good in this. He’s doing something for you. And he could be doing something for other people. God will not waste your suffering, it is not meaningless.
You can be guaranteed of that. God is going to use the suffering to teach you about himself, and to draw you closer. Joseph’s suffering, ended up saving lives, saved his whole family. And God brought something beautiful out of it. So through forgiveness, God heals us, sets us free, and produces something beautiful. Well, the final thing I want to talk about are the results of forgiveness. As I mentioned earlier, the benefits of forgiveness, are they bring healing and wholeness and freedom.
When we forgive, we can embrace the life that God is giving us. Because Joseph was able to forgive, he was able to embrace all that God had for him. He wasn’t stuck in the past, he was able to move forward. And for me, when I was able to forgive, that same thing happened, I wasn’t stuck in the past, I was able to move forward. And so for me forgiving Dave and Tiffany set me free. I looked forward to a future with God, I wasn’t stuck in the past feeling that just looking at the life that I used to have and thinking, I just want that life back.
But realizing God had something else for me. And when Dave and Tiffany got married, I was single, and honestly pretty lonely. And God kept telling me, I’m in this, I will be with you through this. So I don’t want to make it sound like it’s this easy. You forgive and life just feels wonderful. Sometimes it’s hard. And sometimes it’s lonely. But don’t give up. God is still working in your life. So just keep trusting him through that. And what God did, as I forgave is my relationship with Him became so much deeper. And if I had to say one of the most life changing things, for me, it was forgiveness because of what it did. My relationship with God, it felt completely unblocked, that I would be able to just talk to God because he was right there with me.
But forgiveness doesn’t just impact us and our relationship with God. It impacts others, it may impact the person who is wounded you, especially if you have ongoing contact with them. For me, it enabled me not to trash talk, Dave, that we could co parent together. And it was easier on our daughters that they didn’t feel that they needed to choose sides or that they couldn’t say anything good about their dad because I wanted them to be able to do that. And Dave emailed me a year or two ago saying this. I wanted to share with you that God has been glorified by both your overt extension of forgiveness to me as well as the way you handled things with the girls between us. Many others would have handled things differently. And my relationship with the girls today would likely look very different as a result. Thank you again. I’m so grateful for that, because I felt that it helped the girls a lot. And it helped me. And it did help Dave as well.
But our forgiveness and unforgiveness doesn’t just impact us or the person that we are forgiving. It impacts everyone around you. I did a workshop a few years ago on forgiveness. And I think I could have lined everybody in that workshop up on who had forgiven and who had not, because he within a few minutes, the people who had not forgiven, were very anxious to talk about how they had been wounded. And the wounds were deep. But it was written on their face. I would say for most of them, it was written on their face that they were angry, and they were holding on to something. And the people who had forgiven, they had joy. Everybody was drawn to them. So you may not think that other people can see it.
But most people can see it, they can see joy, and they can see bitterness. And as I said earlier, I don’t think bitterness and joy can coexist. Hebrews 1215 says that we need to watch out for a root of bitterness because it will cause trouble and defile many. And our bitterness does defile other people. But forgiveness is also a powerful demonstration of the gospel to the world. Some of you may remember in 2015, dylann roof, a 21 year old white supremacist, murdered nine members of a black Charleston church. And one of the victims daughter’s a Christian nating, Colliers done the world and the news media when she said, I forgive you, you took something very precious from me, I will never talk to her again.
I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul. This is God’s love. It conquers the world. I got to speak at my grad school reunion a few years ago about forgiveness. And one of my classmates is involved in politics and an Asian country. And he came up to me and said, I’ve never heard this idea of forgiveness, said if we did this, if countries did this, or people in politics, forgave, and didn’t hold bitterness, that would change the world. And it would in our country, it would change the world.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that what I’ve talked about, though today, is uniquely Christian. The world says, hold a grudge you You deserve it, somebody has really hurt you. Or maybe people would say forgive because it’s good for you. But there’s no help to do it, you just need to do it because it’s good for you. The Christians have the power of God, we know how much we’ve been forgiven. And God gives us that power, the power of the Spirit to forgive others. So if you are not a Christian here, and you’re listening to this, I would ask first, that you would ask God for His forgiveness. And that he would then able be give you the ability to forgive others. And if you are just turned to God, give him your willingness.
Let him bring to light all the things that need to be acknowledged, know that the decision you make, he will just want your willingness and he will do the rest his level for flow through you. You can pray for that person. And all of those things will bring you closer to God. Well, I’m grateful for the ways the Lord helped me forgive as I when I lost my marriage or lost my son because of a doctor’s negligence. And I talk about that in my memoir, and some people can relate to that. But I have found everyone relates to my struggles with my mother in law.
So I’m going to end with that. When I was first married, I had a lot of grudges against my mother in law. I pretty much didn’t think she did anything well or right. And I was very willing to talk to anybody who had a mother in law story about how my mother in law did not appreciate me or just a million things. And I’m guessing most people in this room, either have a mother in law, a sister in law or a daughter in law, there is a son in law here that you might be struggling to forgive and I’m guessing on some people’s pages, there is a mother in law or daughter in law on that sheet. So I I was really good at that and I would do it really subtly. So I would always say, yeah, you know, I understand, but she does this. And I just don’t like that.
But God convicted me through scripture one day, and I realized how much I needed to forgive her. And it wasn’t anything big. But I just needed to let go of the little things, the little comments about how she didn’t parent the way I was parenting, which I took super personally and probably weren’t even meant super personally. But I started to re lease and not rehearse. And I prayed for her. And I started to see her as a real person, and not just someone who was going to irritate me. And our relationship changed dramatically. Like I went from really being annoyed with her to loving her. But then Dave left.
And that caused another whole rift in our relationship, and tense words, really harsh words were exchanged. And I was working on forgiveness, again, which as I’ve mentioned, this is I’m not a graduate, so I’m always working on it. And but my father in law apologized to me,the most beautiful apology about some of the things that he had said and done. And we reconciled and restored our relationship. And it became amazing.
I am very close to my in laws, I love them. I talked to them all the time, even though I’m not with their son anymore. And my mother in law made me a quilt a few years ago. And it’s gorgeous. It hangs in our house. And I wish I could bring it. But a friend of mine made me a quilt, a little quilt square that I’d like to show you today. And I brought it because I pulled it up again. I brought it because I think quilts are a picture a perfect picture of forgiveness. Because this was once whole fabric, they were whole pieces of fabric.
And they were cut apart into tiny little pieces. And if you come in, in the midst of somebody making a quilt, there’s pieces everywhere. And they look like a mess. They may be tattered. And if you don’t, if you just leave it there, if that’s what it is. Its whole fabric cut apart into little pieces. And it looks like a life that will never be put back together. That’s all wrong. And I think that’s what happens with unforgiveness.
But forgiveness is letting God sew the pieces back together. And they become something much more beautiful than what they were before. And that is how God uses forgiveness in our lives. I’m sure these this had beautiful fabric on it but it’s much more beautiful that the pieces have been torn apart and sew back together. And Jesus does that for us. Because through forgiveness, God will heal you. He will set you free and he will produce something beautiful. Thank you