Charles David - Forgiveness

Hi everyone,
I just finished watching a movie ‘I Can Only Imagine’. It brought a flood of painfully memories.
My Dad was a monster that I allowed to destroy my life.
A few years ago I had taken a Landmark Forum program.
During that program I wrote a letter to my Dad.
I just read the letter again. Unfortunately, he died before I wrote the letter and before I forgave him. I am still discovering areas that I am forgiving him.
For most of my life anytime and one brought up about fathers especially on Fathers Day I saw RED and rage and anger consumed me. When I became a Christian I was told that God was my heavenly father.
I struggled with that for the next 40 years. I put God as the same as my earthly father. Which was neither healthy nor right. Unfortunately, that was the only reference I had.
I discovered when I had my own family that the person I hated the most in life was the very person I had become.
My anger was taken out against my daughter one day. I lost my temper at her and exploded. Did not lay a hand on her, but the pure terror I saw on her face scared me to dead. That was when I realized I had become my father.
He had tried to kill me on at least two occasions one when I was five and again when I was a teen.
I would have given anything to have had a father / son time together never happened.
After my parents divorce, my father wrote to each of his children. Disowning us and disinheriting us.
One of the hardest things I have ever done was to forgive him. With the Lord’s help I was able to forgive. Once I had forgiven him, then my relationship with God as my heavenly father took on a real and powerful meaning to me. I could finally come to God as my Father.
I still have times when God feels distant and not there. Then I remember my Dad being the same. It is so.trying I struggle with. I need to remind myself during these times that God loves me unconditionally.
That Jesus dies on the cross for my sins.
After I shared this letter to my Dad and my story at Landmark. I had people come up to me that because of my sharing had reconnected with their father and/or mother. Some five some ten some twenty years of anger and hatred causing isolation. They had started forgiving them and rebuilt relationships that they thought were dead.
The letter is based on Landmark teaching. The Lord spoke to me during the time I wrote this letter. That he would bring healing.
Here is the letter I shared:-

Dad,
I have spent my whole life angry and hating you. This has wasted time, energy and emotions that have left me drained and lifeless. When I was born you came into the room took one look at me and informed my Aunt and Mom and myself that I was worthless and a failure. You reinforced this during my time at home. I have carried that through my whole life.
When I was 5 years old you sent me to the hospital in a comma when you purposely threw an axe at my head. Fortunately, the back of the axe head hit me and not the sharp end. You got away with attempted murder due to everyone being afraid of you. When I was discharged I and my Mom had to move to the country on Doctors orders for over a year due to my reaction to noise and stress. I have vague memories of this time. I discovered later in life that it was deliberate and that you threw the axe at my head in a fit of anger. In that first incident, I allowed you to shape and define my life.
Then during my teen years while on vacation you and I took a boat trip to the middle of a lake. Unfortunately, your motives were not father and son time but to throw me in the lake and told to sink or swim that you did not care. Twice you tried to end my life and twice I survived.
I just want to let you know that I forgive you and hold no malice towards you.
What happened, happened that was reality, I do not know why or what drove you to do those things but you did. I had my story around you but this weekend I am choosing to rewrite my story from the negative to the positive.
Throughout all of my life, you did all you could to make me feel worthless and less than human and I allowed you to do that to my very being.
I came to the Landmark Forum to reclaim my life and make a difference in my retirement years.
What I am actually accomplishing is I am reclaiming my life and rewriting and redefining my future.
The possibilities that I have reinvented for my self and my life is the possibility of being a powerful dynamic individual that can accomplish whatever I put my mind to.
I am a survivor but more than that I break any and all holds that I allowed for you to control my life.
You were a large chapter of my past that I now close and look forward to the new chapter that I will write without outside influence and control or manipulation.
Starting right now I take back my life my future and will make a positive impact to those around me and the world.

Your son,
Edward

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God bless you, I am so sorry you had to endure such pain, and at the hand of your own father. I cannot fathom the horror you experienced as a boy. My heart sunk as I read your letter while it also celebrated your brave decision to forgive.
We just don’t realize, on a day to day basis, what a person is having to, or has had to endure. The power of forgiveness is incredible as I am sure you are finding in your experience. I do pray that you feel the warmth and love expressed from others here. I pray it will increase the assurance of your value in Christ our Lord and you will stay connected. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Thank you for sharing your story. I pray for continual healing in your life and relationships.

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@CharlesDavid what courage that took to lay out your closely held trauma. So glad you are on such a different path. Your experiences will be a continual help for others who may have endured the very same plight. God bless you and the Lord is so very faithful. Open the floodgates of healing Lord. Know that you have touched people today through the words written with spirit guidedness. And, those same words will continue to be a beacon to call those to him through the Lords use of your experiences and the love you are able to spread.

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Thanks so much, Charles, for sharing this with us. I’m too deeply grieved that you had to experience so much pain, but am rejoicing with you that you are learning to walk with the Lord as he heals your heart. I admire how you write,

With the Lord’s help I was able to forgive. Once I had forgiven him, then my relationship with God as my heavenly father took on a real and powerful meaning to me. I could finally come to God as my Father.

I think this is the very essence of why God wants us to be forgivers - it opens the doors for us to have a powerful relationship with him. Thanks for being a real-life reminder of that. You’ve encouraged me to seek the Lord in areas of unforgiveness in my life, and I’m deeply grateful.

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