I know all the objections to forgiving a parent who hurt you deeply. For decades, I didn’t want anything to do with my father, a difficult man who harmed our family significantly. But finally, like Jonah, I ran out of escapes and excuses. That’s when I started on a path of forgiveness and reconciliation—and you can do the same. Here’s why:
• Forgiveness does not excuse the misdeeds of others.
Many people have the misconception that forgiving means forgetting someone’s sins against you. But our omniscient God doesn’t “forget” our sins. Instead, He remembered them at the cross. He received the punishment for them through death and chooses to remember them no more (Heb. 8:12). No one is asking you to forget the past. In fact, remembrance and confession are the first essential steps toward forgiveness.
Your parents will give an account to God (and maybe even to authorities) for their actions toward you. But the good news is it’s not your job to be their judge and jury. That’s God’s job. And unlike us, He’ll administer both justice and mercy perfectly.