At first I tried to ignore the peaceful inner voice that told me to tell her the dream. But that didn’t work. So. I decided to tell her. I started out something like this. “You know. I had a dream with you last night.” She said, “Really?” I said, “Yes.” And then I said, “In the dream, I told you that you bothered me, and then I hugged you.” She giggled. And that’s when I heard that inner peaceful voice again. This time it told me to hug her. At first I thought, “You can’t be serious.” But then I got excited.
I thought to myself, “Good, Lord. I just know you’re going to touch her heart. I know you’re going to convict her. You’re going to shake her up, and she’s going to say she’s sorry.” So many thoughts were running through my mind. I thought it was God’s master plan to get her to say she was sorry, and all along I was going along with it.
“So. You know what I need to do, right?” I said. I told her I need to hug you. We hugged.
Then suddenly something happened. That touch from God that I thought was going to knock her socks off didn’t quite happen the way I expected. Instead, I began to cry my eyes out. Suddenly, the love I had cried out to God for had flooded my heart for this woman. I thought to myself, “Great. Here I am expecting God to touch and break this woman down and cause her to repent of her stupidity. And here I am crying like a baby. First, God tells me to tell her the dream. Then he tells me to hug her. And then he tops it off with this. I’m crying.” It wasn’t even a graceful cry or a whimper. There was no silence or slow tears gracefully being wiped from my cheeks. Nope. I was all out there.
Picture a desperate parent finding her kidnapped child and crying over it. Just like that. I was sobbing.
At that point, she said, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” And all I could think was, “If you only knew how okay this isn’t.”
But what followed that hug was a tender and genuine love for her. I was convinced that she could have literally spat on my face, and I would have loved her and smiled without hesitation.
Approximately two weeks later, her sick daughter passed away. And shortly after that, the grandson she lived with passed away in his sleep. Some might be reading this now and thinking it was God’s revenge. I don’t believe that. God gives life. I don’t believe a loving God does that. I believe he loved her and wanted to hug her. And that he did. Through me.
One morning, when I saw her walk into the room shortly after that, I noticed her steps were heavy. I felt a deep pain in my heart. It was so much pain. I met her in her room and asked if I could pray for her. She accepted. She was desperate. God’s love and embrace felt so tangible at that moment.
What would it have been like had I not forgiven her a few weeks before that? Would I have been able to do the same?
Forgiveness is freeing. It’s not a feeling. It’s a choice. I believe that if we ask God to help us forgive, he can and he will. And we can love with his love.