by Anita Estes
One of the themes through the book, Letters to God on a Prodigal Son is forgiveness.
At first, I was angry with God, and had to forgive Him for allowing my son to become addicted. Here’s a prayer from the beginning on the book:
Please forgive me for being angry with You (God) and saying that You didn’t answer my prayers. I know Ben made his own choices. You are not responsible for his addiction. He’s stubborn and wants to do things his own way.
Later, I asked the Lord for forgiveness for my part in my son’s addiction:
Father, forgive me for anything that I did in his life to cause this. He was so sensitive. I tried to understand, but I lost my temper sometimes raising three children. Please forgive me for sins known and unknown. Take this broken heart of mine; heal it one piece at a time. You have given me a difficult load to bear. First, I dealt with these problems with my husband, now my son.
I waffled back and forth because forgiveness is a continual process.
At times, I relapsed into what I call the blame game. Here’s an excerpt from Lessons Learned: “This was a very painful time for me. I tried to see things from God’s perspective and have faith, but then I’d lapse into blaming everyone for Ben’s problems: myself, my husband, our family gene pool, Ben’s stupidity and even God at times. Yet in these months I cried out to God more and more. Even though this wasn’t the end of my son’s problems, it was the end of myself—my pride, self-reliance, judgmental attitudes, and self-righteousness. And so, though it was the worst of times, it was also the best of times.”
I often cried out to the Lord to forgive both me and my son: Look upon his (Ben’s) affliction and trouble and forgive all his sins” (Psalm 25:18—parenthetical material mine).
“For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you” (Psalm 36:5).
God is always willing to forgive us when we mess up. The hard part is admitting it, but it feels great when we do. That’s one of the great benefits of having a personal relationship with Jesus—you can confess your sins, and you don’t need to feel guilty any more.