But I hate them and what they have done. They wrecked not only my life, but the lives around me. I could never forgive them… Have you ever said those words, or something close to them? I know that I have.
Forgiveness… Such a powerful word, and yet… incredibly difficult to implement. I was reading from Hebrews this morning and this is what I read… WARNING: THIS WILL STRETCH YOU BEYOND BELIEF.
Hebrews 12:15 “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
You see, when you don’t forgive someone, you let them park in your life forever. These people are like parasites that can suck the life right out of you and allow bitterness to rot you out. If you let these people and their actions haunt your thoughts, emotions, and spirit, you allow them to continually damage not only you, but those around you, too.
C. S. Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Oscar Wilde said, “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” The great commentator Henri Nouwen said, “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”
If anyone can give testimony about the difficulty to forgive someone… It’s me! You see anger and bitterness can take root in your life, and has the power to affect your entire life. I must admit that it can be extremely difficult to forgive someone when they have wronged you. The truth is that I am not always one who can forgive right away. But, it has been my experience that once I have forgiven someone, it has been extremely liberating… It was like I lifted a thousand pounds off of my shoulders. Have you had that experience?
The reality is that God has forgiven us, so we need to forgive people exhaustively. This is not a one time deal, it is a daily thing. Maybe, just maybe, it is time for you to FORGIVE SOMEONE who has wronged you.
I leave you with the words of Mother Teresa:
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Do you need to forgive someone today?