In 2015 I attended a service on forgiveness. During this service I heard a testimony from Renée Napier, the mother of Meagan Napier who was killed, along with her best friend Lisa Dickson, in a car accident in 2002 (they were 20 years old). The driver of the car that hit them, named Eric, was under the influence of alcohol and went to prison for his offence.
Renée’s story was that of the Healing Power of Forgiveness and it was both powerful and inspirational. Her testimony is that she forgave Eric and petitioned the judge to reduce his sentence by half. Eric then became a Christian and they now tour together (and separately) to tell of the power of forgiveness and warn against Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
I knew beforehand that going to this service would be tough and that listening would be even tougher. I knew within myself the reason why. I was bitter, unforgiving and hurting at a very deep level. However, hearing someone’s story is so much more powerful than trying to learn the do’s and don’ts of forgiveness out of a book.
Hearing the process of her forgiveness touched me to my core. I very quickly went through a ‘grieving’ process as I listened e.g. anger, denial, fear etc.
One of the biggest things that I learned was that I needed to ‘stop drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die’ – which was a quote that Renee used during her testimony. She was correct – it was slowly killing me like cancer.
Since 2015, my walk of living an ever-increasing forgiving life has been tumultuous and extremely painful. I’ve learnt a lot about what forgiveness does and doesn’t include. Despite all this learning, I still find it extremely difficult to forgive myself, and others.
I’m going to leave you with a question and action step, before praying for us.
Question: In what ways do you struggle with forgiveness of yourself or others?
Action Step: Journal, or pray, about any of the ways you wish to grow in forgiveness.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for helping us grow as your faithful disciples. Lord, it often feels difficult to navigate the complexity and settle ourselves on tough content. Thank you for always loving us. Where we struggle to forgive ourselves, others, or you please help us. Amen.
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