Ephesians 5:11, KJV: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
Many of us are thrust painfully into adulthood when both of our parents pass on. That is the real lesson of maturity. Regretfully, many of us do not have any serious conversations about mortality with our parents. Those conversations may be missed due to illness or infirmity, and additionally, some of us are cursed with distance or a self-consciousness in our dealings with our parents.
I was blessed to have a close relationship with my mother. She was exceptional, although I wasn’t always the greatest son. After her death in March of 2018, I wrote an in-depth article about my mother for Politichicks: Jean Ingmire: A Sterling Mother.
In October 2017, I was fortunate to have many deep and abiding conversations with my mother which I described in the aforementioned article. She and I had a week together discussing everything from God to man to mortality.
My mother was ready for Heaven; she was prepared. But in the course of our conversations she asked me one especially pertinent question: Had I ever forgiven the man that murdered my father?
Going back to December 27, 1965–an angry young man, after a fight with his girlfriend, intentionally drove into my father’s car as he was on his way to work. Though I only had my dad for eight years, his impact on me was immeasurable. Through his example, he influenced my love for animals, and his singing voice was a blueprint for my own. I value and respect his service in the Navy during World War II and in Korea. His last few years were spent in his dream job as a game warden, where I once saw him nurse an injured bobcat back to health. That bobcat, who we named Tripod, loved us as much as we loved him.
So in response to my mother’s question about forgiving my father’s murderer, I told her that would require a level of Christianity that was beyond me at the time. No matter how many years had passed, I did not feel that I could ever forgive him.
Yet in that moment, I also realized I needed to work on forgiveness both in regard to others but also to myself. I have been greatly loved by many people, but I think because of the manner of my father’s death, there has always been an element of anger that had not yet fully been distilled or absorbed by my experience.
That anger remained raw throughout my life, almost the same as when I first experienced it at the age of eight. It was somehow absorbed into my soul because of the senseless manner of my father’s death. I never truly dealt with the emptiness, fear, or anger that his loss had left in me.
Then, on October 2017, my mother succinctly stated, “You need to forgive that man. It will free you up.”
I filed her statement away for future consideration and from time to time I would think about her question of forgiveness.
And then a few days after the fifth anniversary of her death, I was walking in my neighborhood. It was a beautiful Sunday and as a humble Christian, I always marvel at the colors of God’s creation; He is truly the greatest natural painter.
Suddenly, I heard my mother’s voice repeating her words in my head: “You need to forgive the man that killed your father. It will free you up.”
It was time.
I looked up to the sky and silently said the following prayer: “Lord, my mother asked me to forgive the man that murdered my dad. I say to you on this day that I forgive my father’s murderer. I wish him no more anger nor resentment. I hope that his spirit resides in your presence.”
In that moment, a 57-year-old weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt lighter, freed from the shadows of my childhood. I was amazed at how much better I felt.
Life is still a struggle, and I am far from perfect. A true work in progress. But that day, an old wound was fundamentally healed when I realized how much my acrimony towards that disturbed young man had limited my happiness.
Since my father’s death I always had a phobia about driving. That fear is now diminishing. And for many years, because my dad died during the Christmas season, I felt like a stranger at that holiday, distant from other people’s happiness. Now I cannot wait to celebrate Christmas in 2023.There is an unbelievable lightness in my life through this large measure of forgiveness.
But when I shared my delightful revelation with my wife and several friends, one of them asked a very real and serious question regarding politics: “With this new perception of forgiveness, do you forgive the Obama administration for Benghazi?”
My answer was a resounding “No”, and here are some of the reasons why.
First, the young man who drove into my father’s car faced the ultimate level of accountability when he lost his life in the collision.
Second, the problem was that no one involved demonstrated any sincere element of regret in regard to Benghazi (nor for any of their various individual crimes). Saying you are responsible for a failure, or a possible crime, is an empty chair without real accountability.
I uphold the aforementioned for forgiveness only if they ask for God’s mercy, repent and face a tangible level of accountability. (When discussing this matter with another Benghazi family member, they stated that although they have forgiven Hillary and the Obama administration, they would still like them to face accountability.)
In general, it is difficult to hold corrupt politicians up to God’s love in prayer. That is a tall order for me, especially when their actions and behaviors lead me to believe that they would run like jackals away from the Cross of Trinity. These are the type of beings that will continue to behave in a criminal manner, whether they are exposed or not.
There is a great deal of difficulty in forgiveness, especially the forgiveness of evil. And when regarding Washington, we must also consider the levels of unreasonable persecution of freedom-loving Americans as issued by the current administration and the left at large.
I remain a hard-boiled Christian in training. Jesus Christ is my Savior. In America, we remain one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We worship God, not big government. I continue to pray for America, that we lose our narcissism and repent.
This is what Jesus said while he was in Galilee: “Judge not according to the appearance but judge righteous judgement.” John 7:24, King James Version