I am having a lot of difficulty finding it in myself to fogive and ask for forgiveness from others due to a recent disaster in my family. And am looking for some advice.
My father was working as a contractor in Iraq for a couple of years. He would come home periodically, but most of his time was spent overseas. Prior to his taking this overseas job he worked here in the US and didn’t travel much so this was a big change for the family. No one was really happy about it but we lived with it because it seemed to fulfill something in him. After 2 years of this, he came home one day and told me that he had been carrying on an affair with a young girl in Jordan for the past year. Apparently, a few months before he told my mother about it and told her he wanted a divorce but somehow they were able to work it out that he would stay and break it off with the girlfriend. But when he went back overseas he got in with her again. They didn’t tell me about it back then because I had just lost my infant son back then and since they worked it out they decided not to tell anyone. But now that it had been a few months, my mother gave him the ultimatum that if he was going to stay he had to come clean and we would all work on it together as a family. And so he took me out and told me about it. He promised he was through with the girl and wanted to come back to the family. Obviously this was a very emotional event.
A few months later he was back working in Iraq and when he came home, he told my mother it was over. That he was leaving her and was going to marry this other girl and bring her back to this country.
Some things you should know. My parents never really fought and both will tell you there were no major problems between them. They had a wonderful life together and a great family. According to my father he just wasn’t happy and wanted to more or less change gears. All of this started when my mother was diagnosed with an illness that is sometimes debilitating. My parents were married for over 30 years. They are in their late 50’s and my father’s girlfriend - now wife as of 2 weeks ago - was only 23.
While my father was in iraq with this girl (who is not from Iraq but from eastern europe) he was paying for her college and giving her money for her family. All of this was going on while he was still married to my mother. He wracked up a lot of debt then when it came time for the divorce he tried to force my mother with a lot of it.
Now that they are divorced, my whole family has been torn apart. His mother, my grandmother, has become very spiteful toward my mother and has said many hurtful things, blaming my mother for not being able to keep my father around. It has lead to several family arguments and now my sisters have alienated my grandmother who alienated my mother. My Grandmother who took her son’s side is now left pretty lonely because he moved away with this girl. My father still reaches out to me and my sisters. My sisters have alienated him. I still will respond to emails. He keeps telling me that him and his girl-wife keep saying that one day hopefully we will be together again.
I tried to keep this concise but its hard. And believe me there is a lot more to it then all this.
My dilemma is, all the bitterness is eating me up inside. Its taking a huge toll on the family. I know that I am supposed to forgive. But I argue with myself that he is not deserving of forgiveness. Our Family Holidays used to be big events, now there are less than half the people at the celebrations. My first thought was to just rebuild the family unit between myself and my sisters. But how does one so easily dismiss the last 35 years? Also, scripture tells us to forgive and to get out the root of bitterness. But I struggle with this daily. How do I forgive my father for what he has done? I don’t feel I can ever accept him back into my life and especially not this girl who is younger than my youngest sister. How can I have them around my children? What kind of example is that?
Anyone have any advice for my struggle?