Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Forgiveness, Hope

Forgiveness in the face of evil

Last week I wrote about learning to forgive myself (by God’s grace) after our son passed away in 1988.  Forgiveness can be a  very powerful tool in restoring relationships (and our lives).  This week, I am very pleased to hand the blog over to our family friend, Marcus Mosey, who, through a family tragedy has also learned about the incredible power of forgiveness.

Marcus writes;

On 21st December 1988, something happened that would change our family and my life forever.

I was 16. My 19 year-old sister, Helga, had been home for just a week before Christmas and was heading back that afternoon from our home in Birmingham to the USA. We had fought like cat and dog (her being the aggressive cat!). For the first time in years, that week I had experienced a loving, caring sister. On the departure day I didn’t want her to go back to her gap-year au pairing job in New Jersey. But I needed to do some Christmas shopping, so I headed into the city, and promised I would be home in time to say goodbye.

Later that afternoon, I returned home, having totally forgotten that my sister was due to leave for the airport at 2pm. She had gone.

Afternoon turned into evening, and I sat upstairs watching something on the old TV set. Suddenly the programme that I was watching was interrupted with a news flash. A plane had come down over a town in the Scottish Borders. I experienced a fleeting sympathetic grief that anyone with half a heart would have in such circumstances – a deep sadness for the unknown families of those affected. I remember thinking, “Some people are going to have a miserable Christmas and New Year….”

Over the next hour, we found out out it was my sister’s plane, Pan Am 103, that had come down over the sleepy market town of Lockerbie. Our lives would never be the same.

In the coming days and weeks, many facts were established. Bodies strewn over the beautiful Scottish Borders countryside were recovered, along with parts of the plane and people’s luggage. Memorial services were attended by politicians and dignitaries, private funerals and wakes took place in the U.S., U.K. and other countries . For weeks, months, years, this event occupied front covers and columns of newspapers and featured heavily in the media. Even to this day. But for me, I had to deal with the grief of losing my sister and also the fact that I didn’t keep my promise – to get back from shopping before she left. I never said goodbye. I wished I had told her that I loved her; that I forgave her for the years of pain she put me through, but I didn’t. Somehow I had to forgive myself, and also the perpetrators of this deed. So I prayed. I asked God to help me to forgive.

God came.

He came. And all sense of hatred, revenge and unforgiveness towards the perpetrators (whoever they were) just dissipated within this amazing force shield. He had us. He had me.

 But I still struggled to forgive myself for not keeping my promise. Strangely, it was easier to receive God’s help to forgive others than it was to forgive myself! It was like I had this self- disappointment attached to me, on a leash. It would just be there, wherever I went, even though I didn’t want it. Then, one morning a few months later, I woke up and it was gone. I was no longer feeling that sense of shame and regret. It was just gone! I was free.

As a family, we have seen amazing things happen around the world as a result of the Lockerbie air disaster; so many great things that God has brought out of such a dark event. Many children’s lives in Asia have been transformed because of my sister’s death.

But for me, the greatest act of God is that I have not been overcome with unforgiveness and anger. Instead, I have been able to walk on from that evening before Christmas in 1988, free from bitterness, able to forgive. Most importantly, to forgive myself, because God already had.

Marcus Mosey, June 2016


 

 

Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Forgiveness, Healing, Hope, Miracles

Learning to forgive yourself 

I shared last week about the loss of our son Jamie and the way our lives as a family were changed forever. In the weeks and months after Jamie died, our pastor John Mosey was a wonderful friend. He helped us with the many practical arrangements and he led Jamie’s funeral service, providing a great deal of comfort and support in a terrible time.

On Dec 21, 1988, in the same year that Jamie died, a Pan Am plane exploded over Lockerbie, killing everyone on board. John’s 19 year old daughter Helga was one of the victims. I remember the day we received the news and I drove to John’s house. John and his family knew Helga had been on the plane, but John was on the phone in the hallway, trying to confirm some more details. ‘I am so glad you are here,’ he said. ‘You know what it feels like to lose a child’.  

The circumstances were very different. Jamie had died from an unknown illness and Helga had been killed in a suspected terrorist attack. But now, in the same year, both families were facing the indescribable grief of losing a child. 

News of the Lockerbie disaster was in every newspaper and John became known at the time, for saying he would forgive the people who had taken his daughter from them. Our family did not have anyone to forgive in the same way, but as the years went by and I continued to carry a great weight of grief, I wondered if I did need to forgive someone. 

In April 2016, RT Kendall came to visit UCB. I spoke about his visit in another blog post  but I did not share at the time, how much this visit impacted me. RT was filming a TV programme for UCB TV, but we asked if he would share something for UCB’s team leaders also.    

RT spoke for a little while about forgiveness and encouraged our team to forgive those who had hurt them. He then said he wanted to pray for those who needed to forgive themselves. This was a very important moment for me personally, as although many years had passed since we had lost Jamie, I had carried a silent burden of guilt, wondering if I could have done more? Could I have spent more time with him? Could I have done things differently?

RT’s time with us and his powerful prayer, was a moment of breakthrough in my life. Over the next few days, I began to realise that I felt totally free. By the power of God’s grace, I was finally released from a burden which I was never meant to carry. God had shown me that I needed to forgive myself. 

I believe that God wants all of us to be totally free, to not carry guilt and shame from the past, into our present lives. I thank God for sending Godly people into the ministry of UCB, who can show us more about God’s wonderful healing power. 

Jesus came to set the prisoners free. If we choose to accept it, we too can live in total freedom.