A photo of Adelita, Sixto’s mother

My Mom’s Heritage of Forgiveness

A spiritual insight from Focus on the Family’s international leadership

My parents’ upbringing in beautiful Costa Rica was anything but idyllic.

My mother was the daughter of one of my grandfather’s mistresses, who gave my mom to an aunt when she was young. Mom experienced abuse and violence as a child. Her childhood was one of work, pain and abandonment. She described her father as a cruel man.

“When he finished his coffee, he would throw the cup at my head,” she said. “That was the sign that he had finished.”

My father was one of eight children. After their father died, my dad began working at banana plantations and docks as a 13-year-old to help feed the family.

When my parents got married, they didn’t know much about building a family. But when my mom met God, she learned the art of forgiveness. After receiving forgiveness for herself, she was then able to give it to the people around her. Mom began to let go of the chains of the past, and that led to a desire to reconnect with her own mom—not from a place of pain, but from healing and the hope that comes from forgiveness.

When I was 19, my mom and I went to Nicaragua to try and find my grandmother. “What if you find her?” I asked. “What will you do?”

“If I have not forgiven . . . my desire for revenge would cause me to speak words of bitterness and pain,” she said.

But since she had found forgiveness, she knew her response would be very different.

“If I find her, all I want to do is tell her that I’m doing well. She must have suffered for many years wondering whatever happened to her daughter. And if she is struggling or has any need, I will bring her to live with me.”

We never found my grandmother, but years later when Mom passed away, my siblings and I were reminiscing about her life. One of my brothers asked, “Knowing how much pain Mom went through, how is it that we cannot hate?”

That’s when I became aware that forgiveness not only impacts my life, but it also establishes a new foundation for the next generation. Rather than living as victims, forgiveness gives us the opportunity to shine in a new way.

The power of forgiveness brings healing and hope, allowing us to live life with a different perspective.

Sixto Porras serves as the regional director of Enfoque a la Familia in San José, Costa Rica. He and his wife, Helen, have two children, Daniel and Esteban, and three grandchildren, Emiliano, Mateo and Eva.

© 2022 Focus on the Familys. All rights reserved.

Return to 
digital magazine

We hope you enjoyed reading this article from the February/March 2022 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. This publication helps families thrive in Christ, offering time-tested solutions and reliable marriage and parenting guidance, even as it encourages, teaches and celebrates God’s design for the family.

Would you like the print version of this magazine?