“It's Time to Forgive"
Dr. Sam L. Smith
Second Prize - $5,000
Dr. Sam Smith is a Doctor of Chiropractic in Jacksonville, Texas, where he has practiced since 1973. In 1998, Dr. Smith began writing columns for the Jacksonville Daily Progress. His first article was his account of the death of his 16-year-old daughter, Stacey, in 1988, and the supernatural peace and healing he experienced through Jesus Christ. As a result of that experience, he knew that he must share Christ’s love in any way God directed him. Dr. Smith is a Christian singer/songwriter, and in 2000 he recorded a CD consisting of 11 of his original songs. Through his music, God led Dr. Smith to minister to other bereaved parents, and in 2000 he established the Butterfly Ministry in memory of Stacey. The mission of the Butterfly Ministry is to tell others of the perfect love, mercy and grace of Jesus Christ, who is the only source of true peace and healing and the way to eternal life in heaven.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.” [Mark 11:25]
This is a long time coming. I have been studying, learning and teaching the importance and the power of forgiveness for many years. There are few things more freeing than forgiveness, and as Christians, we know that God expects us to forgive others as we pray for Him to forgive us.
Every time I hear another lesson on forgiveness, I search my heart and soul to sincerely try and find anyone I have not forgiven in my life. For years I have thought that I had forgiven everyone that I believed had ever hurt me or wronged me in any way. This morning, as I heard yet another sermon on forgiveness, I realized that I have been harboring unforgiveness toward someone I don’t even know or have ever met. I have repressed it so deeply that I haven’t even really thought about it in years, and I now realize that it is a hindrance to my walk with my Lord. I am telling you about it now in hopes that it will prompt you to search your heart, and if you find any unforgiveness there you will be able to free yourself, too.
In 1988 my 16-year-old daughter Stacey, died from injuries sustained in a car wreck. She was riding with some friends on their way to lunch from high school. It had been raining, and as they topped a hill a pickup was in the middle of the street and forced them off the road. They ran through a wooden fence, and a 2x6 struck Stacey in the head and face, causing fatal injuries. The driver of the truck that forced them off the road did not stop. No one was able to identify the driver, and to this day we do not know who it was. People that witnessed the accident knew it was a young person, a boy they think, but no one has ever told us who it was – and I think it best that I never knew.
As I write this, I cannot describe the feeling I have in the pit of my stomach. Some things about that day I simply cannot allow myself to dwell on, and I now realize that I have not permitted myself to think about the driver of that truck. In repressing those thoughts, I know I have never gone through the process of forgiving him or her, and I know God expects me to do it now. Why now and not sooner? I really don’t know, but I imagine one reason is so I will write about it now in order for someone reading about it to find the healing that I know I will experience. I can think of no better reason, can you? As painful as it is to write about this, I have to tell you this: I feel a weight lifting off my shoulders and my heart at this very moment. I have needed this far too long. Someone reading this needs it just as much. If it is you, please don’t miss what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. Allow Him to reveal to you whatever and whomever you have been harboring resentment towards, and pray for the strength to forgive them. We no longer have to live with the pain and the strain that unforgiveness causes. God want us to be free from it, and now is the time to let it go. Go to your Bible and study all that is written about forgiveness. If you still can’t let it go, go to your Pastor or some strong Christian friend that you can talk to. Don’t pass up this opportunity to receive the healing that the Lord has for you. I know it will make your life better.
One more thing: If by any chance the person who was driving that truck that September day in 1988 should read this article, please accept the forgiveness I am offering. If you have been suffering from feelings of guilt, I ask you to forgive yourself. I know it was an accident, and from the deepest part of my soul I pray for you to feel forgiveness and peace. If you do not know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, I pray that you would open your heart to Him. If you do know Him, I pray this brings you closer. God bless you.
For everyone else, if the Spirit has revealed anyone that you need to forgive, I pray that you will forgive them now. You will find supernatural peace and healing when you do. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” [Colossians 3:13]
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