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Mary, as I reflect on your post, I find your reflections compelling and examples compassionate.
You wrote: In listening to his story, I asked if there was anything his children could do that he could not or would not forgive them for. He said no, there was not. My response was that if could he loved his children that much, God loved him more – and could and would also forgive him. It was a an incredible moment for him – to know God could and would forgive him – and he forgave himself. He died just the other day.
I want to affirm your ministry of helping this man find grace and healing. Such a simple but powerful example of love for him to reflect upon. Your story also caused me to reflect on an experience of love expressed toward my daughter…
My daughter came out to us as gay several years ago. In tears she said she was afraid because she didn’t want to lose her family. In that moment something came from a deep place inside me, I remember standing up from my chair and declaring – there is nothing you could ever do or be that would stop us from loving you or remove you from our family. At the time I hadn’t thought through all the details and implications of my statment. But there it was a declaration. I realized this was somethig I would stand by. Afterwards I came to see how I would need to change some of my previously held thoughts. But the core insight was this, if my love for her was so strongly felt, couldn’t this be but a glimmer of God’s covenant love toward us. I am in a humble place where I don’t claim to understand everything about a gay orientation, or even all aspects of heterosexuality. But I have been changed by this deep conviction of my unwavering love for my daughter. It has given her the security and blessing of family. It has given me a refreshing freedom to be more open and accepting of others. It has opened my eyes to some of the ways we may cause harm to others through the lack of love and forgiveness. Thank you for your story.