On Mission in the World: Forgiveness

By Heather Templeton

 

I confess. This was a tough topic for me.
Not so much that I didn’t understand what my mission was, but more that it seemed too overwhelmingly large to write in one little blog post.

My mission is simple:
Love God and love others.
It really can be boiled down to those five little words.

But oh those five little words… how they can become layered with complications.
What happens when others just aren’t loveable?
What happens when others are spiteful?
What happens when others hurt you in a way that seems unforgivable?
Suddenly those layers become thicker and stronger and seemingly impenetrable.
To truly love others, we must do what feels completely unnatural.
We must lay down our pride, become completely humble, and forgive when forgiveness is neither warranted, desired, or sought after by the ones that hurt us.

When I was oneandahalf, my three-year-old sister was shot and killed right next to me.
We were holding hands.
I was told we were inseparable.  That she was my other half.
The shotgun painted the wall behind us with bullets, and it is a miracle that I was unharmed.
It was a tragic accident. My birth mother was unloading a gun in the house, and we happened to come walking out into the living room just as it went off and changed our world forever.

That accident tore my family apart.

Unable to cope, my birth parents spiraled into drug and alcohol addiction, and I was tossed between family members until my paternal grandparents gave me a permanent home and adopted me as their daughter.
As the years pressed on, I struggled with issues of abandonment and lack of trust in everyone around me.
I had night terrors, and woke up screaming night after night.
I was sure that others would leave.
I was sure I would be alone.
The Lord had given me a wonderful home with the best adoptive parents I could ever have dreamed of.
But the damage had been done, and as I grew and matured in my faith, I knew I would need to continually lay this down before the Lord to find peace, rest, and ultimately let go of those feelings of being rejected by my birth parents.
Satan had a stronghold in my heart, and to this day, it is something I still find myself regularly bringing before the Lord.

He has never left me.
He has never rejected me.
He has adopted me and called me His own.
I am His forever, and nothing and no one can pluck me out of His hands.
My calling is to forgive, and through that forgiveness, genuine love can flow out and transform the lives of those around me.

My mission is simple:
Love God and love others.
My execution may seem complicated at times.  But day-by-day, as I lay down my past hurt and pain, that love will flow out of me to touch a world in desperate need of our God’s incredible grace.

 

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