What possessed Ted Cruz to break his word, refusing to endorse Donald Trump for president? At the Republican Convention, Cruz urged people to vote their “conscience.” But when confronted, Cruz pointed at Trump’s offending his wife and father, and said he won’t uphold his pledge “like a servile puppy dog.” Rather than forgiving Trump as a Christian, Ted Cruz shamed himself and his family.
One of the most important principles of Christianity – least understood and most needed – is forgiveness.
I traveled to North Carolina on a speaking tour for my book, “The Antidote: Healing America from the Poison of Hate, Blame and Victimhood.” One night, I stopped at a restaurant for dinner. An 18-year-old white male working there sat down and talked with me.
He said he was going to college soon before joining the military for 30 years. He wants Trump to win, and not Hillary, because Trump will build up the military, whereas Hillary would continue to diminish the military just as Obama has. Yet he does not vote, because liberals win anyway.
I asked what his mother and father think about him not voting. He said his mother urges him to vote, but his father is not in the picture.
He said his father threw him against a wall when he was four and told him he did not love him and did not want to be part of his life anymore. He said he had very little contact with his father since that time.
He said, as a Christian, he forgives his father; there is no use being angry about the past or things out of our control, and the Bible said we should forgive.
When the young man graduated from high school, his father called to ask if he wanted him to go to his graduation; the father said he felt that he should be part of the young man’s life again. The young man told his father, “You can come, but I don’t know why you’d want to. I have friends and family who have been part of my life, and you have not been around. You haven’t done anything for me.”
The young man said he’d called the father multiple times prior when he wanted to see him, but the father did not have time for him. The young man said he had men in his family and “father figures” in the military, but they didn’t fulfill the love he needed from his real father.
I told him his words to his father showed that he didn’t truly forgive his father. I told him God doesn’t treat him like that. So, I asked, what gives him the right to treat his father that way? For his father’s sake, he should have told him, “Yes, I’d love for you to be there.” Instead, he threw all the wrongs of the past in his father’s face.
The young man asked, “What about when I called and I was three minutes off the highway he was driving and he said he didn’t have time for me?” I told him, “You still forgive.” He kept asking about hurtful situations, and I kept telling him, “You still forgive.”
He realized that rather than acting like a loving, forgiving Christian and son, he sounded like a resentful person disowning his father and reminding the man of his sins when he finally wanted to make amends. He said he’d call his father that night.
Many Christians think they forgive, but are deceived. Some say, “I forgive, but I never forget.” People who say this do not really forgive. God does not even remember your sins, nor remind you of what you did. Why should you think you are better?
I met another young, white man on my trip whose wife grew up without her father from age 4 until her early 20s. He was involved in drugs and car theft, in and out of prison. She similarly was unready to forgive her father, even though he wanted to connect. She met him a few years ago, and minutes into the conversation he asked for $200. She was so offended that she refuses to speak to him today.
Ted Cruz said his father abandoned the family for a time when he was three. All people whose fathers fail them, and who fail to forgive their fathers, grow up empty, petty and insecure. I see this time after time in the black community. I saw it in myself until I reconciled with my father, returned to God and was completed within.
I realize most Christians do not know how to forgive, although they want to. When you go to a person, do not say, “I forgive you,” and don’t say, “Please forgive me.” Rather, go and apologize for hating, resenting or being angry at the person. Nowhere in the Bible does God say, “Go ask for forgiveness.” That’s why it does not work. Rather, it says, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” As we forgive, God forgives us.
Article posted with permission from Jesse Lee Peterson