Lynn writes: "I am a writer and sometimes editor and I am a member of Faithwriters.com. I am a cancer survivor and born again Christian who at the age of 58 was healed of cancer. Although I am battling again, God has given me an extra six years here on earth and turned me into a writer for Him."
I've Been There
Ginger sat on the front row at the funeral service, stone faced. Her
insides, however, were boiling. Listening to all the wonderful things
being said about the man in the casket in front of the altar, lying
there before God and everybody. The man, who through no choice of her
own, had raised her.
Of course, no one knew what she was feeling. She hid her anger very well. So well, in fact, that it clung to every bone in her body. Self-hatred consumed her, because she had no other place to put her feelings. She had never once, in over 20 years, told a soul about the hell this man had put her through.
A fine looking gentleman stood in front of the mourners and crowd, “I’ve known a few men as good as he was, but not many.”
Ginger wanted to vomit. Good man? Is it a good man to come into a fifteen-year-old girl’s room and ask to see her private parts? Is it a good man who makes lewd gestures when no one else is looking? Is it a good man who tells you dirty jokes when he is driving you to school?
These thoughts raged in Ginger’s head until she could take no more. She started shaking so violently that she rose and ran up the aisle, out of the church. Of course, others thought she was grieving. She was, but not in the manner they thought.
Fleeing outside and down the steps of the church, she ran straight to her car and got inside. A primal scream came from somewhere inside and suddenly she was sobbing uncontrollably. The man was dead, yet even in death, her rage for him consumed her.
Ginger cried until there were no more tears left. Finally, she pulled herself together, got out of the car, and walked back into the church with grace and dignity.
A young male minister, who had followed Ginger outside, watched her from a distance. After the service concluded, and all the others had filed out the back of the church, he saw her approach the casket one last time, and overheard her final goodbye.
Ginger whispered, “I’ve hated you all of my life, and now, at long last, you’re dead. Goodbye, Uncle Art, and may you rot in Hell.”
The young man approached Ginger. “Hello, my name is Isaiah. May I say a few words of comfort to you?”
“You may try, but comfort isn’t exactly a word familiar to me.”
Isaiah spoke gently, “His passing won’t take away your pain. You have to forgive him. That is the only way you will ever find peace.”
Ginger’s green eyes flashed. “Forgive him? You don’t know what he has done to me! I’m just glad he’s dead.”
“He’s dead, but your feelings aren’t. They will not die until you have forgiveness in your heart for that man in the casket there.”
“How can I forgive him? Just tell me how!”
“Just ask Jesus to come into your heart and give you the strength and courage to forgive a sick human being.”
Ginger seethed as she left the church. That Isaiah person didn’t know what he was talking about. Jesus didn’t protect her from the sick human being, now did He?
Ginger went straight to her apartment, leaving family members to gather at a relative’s house for the after service reception. She was in no mood to hear more of what a “good” man the deceased was.
That night, Ginger dreamed of him, and her insides turned to fire. She woke up in such a stage of fright that her teeth chattered so hard she bit her tongue. She got up and made herself some coffee, and as she sipped it, she cried. She cried for three hours straight, and then a voice within her whispered the words, “You have to forgive him.”
Finally, Ginger dropped to her knees and cried out. “Jesus, forgive me for hating him, and give me the strength and courage to forgive him. Please, release me from this bondage of Hell.”
Suddenly, a feeling of freedom came over her, and she felt peace for the first time in her life. Isaiah had been right, she had to forgive in order to let go of the hatred that consumed her.
The following Sunday, Ginger went to the church where her uncle’s funeral was held. She found Isaiah there, thanked him, and asked, “How did you know?”
Isaiah simply smiled and said, “I’ve been there.”
(© 2015 Lynn Gipson – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)