“It’s time for bed, Sarah.”
“I don’t want to go to bed yet,” whined ten-year old Sarah, who was working a jigsaw
puzzle on the floor at her mother’s feet.
“Sarah, don’t argue. I don’t want you up when your father gets home.” Her mother
sighed. “He may be in one of his ‘moods.’”
Sarah knew what that meant, so jumped up, gave her mother a kiss, and hurried to
bed. She didn’t know which would be worse... to be awake or sleeping, if he came
home stumbling again. Either could be bad. With fretful thoughts, Sarah finally closed
her eyes and slipped into sleep.
Sarah woke up with a start, instantly terrified.
“Sarah, Daddy wants to cuddle. Come on, Baby.”
“No, Daddy, no!” Sarah could smell the alcohol on his breath. She fought against him,
hitting him on the chest with her little fists.
“Come on, Sarah, Daddy just wants to have a little fun. Didn’t you have fun last time?
We’ll just wrestle and play a little.”
While Sarah tried to resist her father, she kept remembering the lessons from Sunday
School. “Just ask Jesus,” her teacher had said, “He’ll help you.”
“Oh, Jesus,” Sarah prayed silently, “please help me. Don’t let my Daddy hurt me
again.” Sarah opened her eyes just in time to see the lamp coming down on her
father’s head. When it shattered, he fell onto the floor in a silent, drunken heap. Jesus
had made a way of escape, just like she’d learned at church!
“Get up, Honey, let’s get out of here.” Sarah’s mother quickly gathered a few of their
belongings and they ran out the front door. Sarah never saw her father again.
Twenty years later Sarah looked to the world to be a successful young woman.
Wonderful husband, beautiful home, accelerating career. But Sarah was angry. It was
a deep torment she didn’t understand. “What is wrong with me?” she often found
herself reasoning. The darkness within her had grown until it seemed to be suffocating
the life from her. It was ruthless, and made her rigid, unmerciful. She could find no
refuge from the cancer of blackness that dwelt within her heart.
Her mother stopped by one Sunday afternoon. “Come to church with me tonight,
Sarah. We’re having a special speaker. He’s teaching on healing old hurts. I think you
will enjoy it.”
“I don’t know, Mom. I’ve got a lot to do. I have to go to work early tomorrow too,” she
tried to decline. It had been a long time since she’d been to church, yet she felt a
drawing in her heart to go with her mom.
“Come on, Sweetie, I’ll get you home early.”
“Oh, all right, Mom, give me a minute to get ready,” she grumbled.
Sarah was uncomfortable entering the church. She felt nervous, fidgety. Her Mom
walked up to the third row, turned in and sat down. She patted the seat beside her,
smiling up at Sarah. Sarah reluctantly sat down and hung her head.
The speaker talked about all kinds of hurts people may suffer. And the processes one
goes through afterward. There may be denial, shock, or grief, but always the anger
comes. He continued, “There’s only one way to get rid of the anger, folks. Jesus
taught us how on the cross. His words were ‘Forgive them, Father, for they know not
what they do.’ Do you want to escape from the anger that is eating at your insides?
Escape from the hate and bitterness resulting from those past hurts? Then you must
forgive! Forgive those who have hurt you, stolen from you, betrayed you! It’s your
decision. Free yourself by making the choice of forgiveness, just like Jesus did.”
Sarah didn’t hear any more, she knew in her heart what she needed to do. Sobbing,
she prayed, “Oh, Lord, I have allowed hurt, anger, and hate rule me for so long.
Forgive me. I let it all go and place it in Your hands. I choose to forgive my dad for
hurting me when I was little. I ask You to forgive him too, Lord.”
Sarah felt the blackness, the heaviness in her heart, break down and vanish. “I’m free!
Free!” she wept. Jesus had helped her escape her father when she’d prayed as a
child. And now Jesus had rescued her again. “Thank you, Lord, for rescuing me from
that dark pit, and for providing escape from the bondage of unforgiveness. Bless Your
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