Family, Faith, Forgiveness

Guest: Sandra Settles

Joy Lowery Russaw

2021-02-21 5 min read

My mother Sandra Settles is an amazing woman of God! She is very touchy when it comes to family, faith, and forgiveness. She particularly cares so much about family. She knows how God feels about family and what He says about family. What does God have to say about family? My mother and I were having a conversation about family and forgiveness, and as we were talking, I said, “Mom, this must be told publicly!”. So, here we are, publicly speaking on the topic! This topic is going to be DEEP! We want to be as transparent as possible!

First, my mother believes when young children are involved in the equation, you need to do whatever it takes. She has told me (in the past) many times before, you need to work it out. You have a child now and, you need to work it out. There were no discrepancies prior to this point, so, what is the problem now? My first daughter’s father and I were not in a good place at all. There were feelings, life plans, decisions that were changed abruptly once we discovered I was pregnant. She tried to get me to see the “bigger picture” of the situation and, I was just not seeing it. I refused to stay in relationship with him, refused to change my mind and, made it truly clear that I was NOT going to be with someone that could not (at the time) support me in this. Because if he cannot support me now, he will surely not support me after the baby is here. But now, I totally get it! I understand it from a spiritual standpoint because I am in the position where I can.

Furthermore, the thing about it is, we must stop comparing others situation to our own. What happens is, we are looking at “Well you divorced.”, or you did this, and you did that. If we are grown enough to have children and were in love enough, love your children enough to work this out. God can take on any situation. Nothing is too great for God! These children deserve a whole and healthy life, with mommy and daddy. It does not matter how much money you make, how well you dress your children, or how many likes your cute children get on Facebook. Children need a mother AND a father. Whether you are saved or not saved, that child will reap from your mistakes. The word says, it rains on the just as well as the unjust. God created family; He loves family! The enemy despises family! The enemy does not even like relationships (friendships, business partnership, marriages). God is the creator of relationship. Teach the importance of family to the next generation, it is vital! It is called whole and healthy! Do not allow your children to suffer due to your sins. God says to honor your mother and your father. When you plant negative thoughts in your child mind about the mother or the father, you are teaching them how to disobey the word of God. What is more important? Are all the negative thoughts and hardened hearts you plant in your child more important? Or is it more important to cover your child? COVER THEM. The children do not have to be exposed to the truth (deadbeat dad, absent mother). God will reveal the truth in His time. All you need to do is ensure you cover your children. For encouragement, yes it hurts sometimes. Yes, it gets difficult to be a single parent. We must be encouraged and know that God can, and He will fight that battle for you. Despite the sin you have committed, God forgives you and can release it from you. Do not allow your baby daddy or your baby momma to separate you from the love of God!

I asked my mother to tell us a little about faith. What does it mean to allow God to make our enemies our footstool? God will have you to do some things for your enemy that you will not agree with. When you meet up with your enemy, you will not get close enough to even speak to that person. If we are purposely stepping over our enemies, who do you think God is looking at? God judges the heart; He looks at your heart. Sometimes God will allow your enemy to serve you! How amazing is that?! Sometimes, we must go through something for God to use our situations. The word says, Ye thou I walk through the valleys of the shadows of death. Have faith and know that God will do what needs to be done. Faith without works is dead. We must put forth some action as God prepares the way for us.

Next, I asked her to speak on the importance of extending forgiveness to others. If we want forgiveness from God, we need to extend it out to others. Sandra stated that she is no guru on forgiveness, however, she understands how vital it is. In God’s word, He says, we are to forgive seventy times seven. That is a lot of forgiving! The word also says, forgive us of our debts as we forgive those who have debts against us. We must forgive daily. The word tells us to make allowances for people to fail you. Why? Because it is proven that people will fail you. Be it little or be it big, people will fail you. Forgive so that you can be free! Forgiveness produces freedom, true forgiveness. Forgiveness is not (by far) the easiest thing to do. However, it must be done. Forgiveness is not any option, it is a requirement, it is mandatory. Each time we go to our knees to pray, we must first seek forgiveness for ourselves and extend it out to others. If we take on the attitude that we are doing it for God, we can make it. We cannot do this from our own power and strength, we need God to help us. There was a question, “Is it okay to forgive people and still not have them in your life?”. Absolutely! You can forgive those said persons and move on.

Comparatively, unforgiveness is like an open wound. When you choose to not forgive someone, you will bleed on the next person. Forgiveness is so vital because hurt people only hurt people. Read that again. It will not always be easy but, it is important and mandatory. We must forgive over and repeatedly. Again, God says we must do it seventy times seven. You do the math! That is tons of forgiving. We forgive in Jesus’ name, not in our name. In the name of Jesus, help us to forgive those who have debts against us. In the name of Jesus, forgive US of our own sins. My best friend Jasmine said it best, “Unforgiveness is like traveling to the airport knowing good and well You have to pay for extra baggage. Unforgiveness can cost you salvation.” Stop sitting and waiting for acknowledgement after you have extended the forgiveness. Instead of looking for validation, sit at God’s feet and seek what He needs from you next.

To conclude, give your children a chance at a whole, healthy and, complete life. Teach your children the importance of family. More importantly, what does God’s word say about family?  Have faith in knowing that God can, and He will make your enemies your footstool. Allow God to use your enemies to serve you! Remember the word says to forgive seventy times seven. Forgive, forgive, forgive! Forgiveness is for you and your freedom.


For the full video on this topic, please visit my Facebook page “Joyful Manna”. I love each of you and my prayer is that you live a life pleasing to God! God loves you and, He wants the absolute best for you! Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


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