Sunday, August 16, 2015

Care-giving and Forgiveness

Forgiveness and struggling to forgive is always a part of any grief process or sense of loss in one’s life. Furthermore, there is a grief process that accompanies long term family care-giving. I know as I witnessed my husband’s health continue to decline step by step, I definitely went through a grief process.

Whom, then, might we need to forgive in the grief process that often accompanies care-giving? First of all, we need to accept God’s forgiveness of ourselves. As a caregiver, although devoted to my husband and my marriage vows, I was less than perfect. I often felt impatient. I know there were times that I said and did things which showed this impatience and which were not up to God’s standard of love.  

To reject God’s forgiveness for these things would be a slap in the face of God. God pardons and forgives our sins. In fact, He delights to show us His mercy; and He smashes our sins underfoot and throws those sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18-19). I also tended to put false guilt on myself at times for things that were out of my control. These too needed to be turned over to the Lord. I suspect this is true of most every caregiver at one time or another. 
Secondly, we need to forgive others. Unless others are caregivers themselves, they cannot begin to  understand the heartaches and challenges of being a caregiver. Hence, they may say trite and hurtful things. Also, the people who one may think would be most likely to step up and help are often not there to assist.  Either they are not able to empathize because they have not gone through the same care-giving experiences, or they have issues and responsibilities of their own.  They also may not feel emotionally equipped to get into the process of helping. As a caregiver, however, one has to let go and forgive. We are commanded to forgive, and a lack of forgiveness will only add to the emotional struggles which sometimes accompany care-giving. 

Thirdly, it is also necessary at times for a caregiver to forgive the loved one for whom one is caring. No human being is perfect, and the caregiver’s loved one will not always show the love and gratitude to the caregiver that he or she might expect. As a caregiver, I remember thinking that it would be nice to be thanked occasionally for all that I did for my husband. I do know my husband loved me, however, and we have to forgive and overlook these things. We need to forgive these things because Christ has forgiven us. We also need to overlook them for our own emotional health.  

Finally, we need to be careful that we do not blame God for our loved one’s ill health and for the trials of care-giving. We will never understand all the “whys,” but our best course of action is to trust our Lord God and to run to our Lord for strength and comfort.  


  1. If their was a like button, I would push it!! Hope the heritage days event went well!

  2. Thanks, Jan. In answer to you question Heritage Day did go well, except it did get rained out around 6:00. I was still able to be there a couple hours though and sold a couple books. One book was to a woman who was caring for her husband. The other book was going to be given to parents who were caring for a grandparent. I am excited about that. I pray the book will be a blessing to them.