Forgiveness, what a strong and powerful thing it is; it sets captives free. Perhaps not the one who did the offense but the offended one, the one who was wronged, that was hurt; the one who is carrying an unpaid IOU because the offender never came forth to apologize, to make restitution, or even acknowledge they did wrong; perhaps they’re not even aware they caused hurt to another.
I, as I’m certain many others have, at times innocently said or did something never realizing others were hurt or offended. Likewise, we have also been the recipient of someone’s remark or action that hurt us, whether innocently or with malice.
Whether actions against us are intentional or unintentional a wound may occur, which when left unaddressed can fester causing an infection of anger, resentment, and bitterness. Unforgiveness is a poison to our spirit and soul leading us to wanting revenge, to hurt as we were hurt, and can even cause hardness of heart. The poison begins to sinisterly fill us and come out in our relationships, words, thoughts, and actions; it affects our attitude, erodes trust, and casts a dark shadow over us. It holds us captive, robs our joy, steals peace, clouds vision, chips away at our patience, raises blood pressure, hinders our relationship with the Lord, and allows the adversary a foothold into our lives; once in he goes to work to bring destruction wherever he can.
I recently found myself going from being considered a wonderful person, helpful and appreciated, to being reviled by the very same person. Further it was for something they thought they knew about someone else without having all the facts; my guilt was that I knew the other individual. My attempt to speak with them about this and the actions they were taking against me and family members, met with a rage I have never experienced before. I was in shock, hurt further, and even became fearful of their potential actions.
My heart was certainly not at peace; I found myself being adversely affected mentally and emotionally; which I didn’t like.
What’s a cure?
Forgiveness, what a strong and powerful vaccine it is. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but once done heartfelt, its effects are amazing. The individual who harmed me may never apologize or ask forgiveness; nor the relationship be mended. In extending forgiveness for their actions it does not mean they were right, that I am pretending it did not happen, or that they are getting off the hook. It means I turned over the right to collect the debt myself to the Lord, who is the just Judge, to deal with them and bring justice. I chose to do this even if the Lord in His mercy were to grant them forgiveness of their sins – as they come to Him; just as He, in his mercy, forgave me my wrongs.
Forgiving benefits the forgiver; my heart is at peace, my joy restored.