Humans aren’t natural forgivers. Take note of how many angry people you meet along your day. Take special note if you’re one of them.
Consider . . . for every minute of anger, we lose sixty seconds of peace.
What measure of insult or transgression have you had to deal with lately? Has it been someone hurling shouts, fists, or simply getting in the way of your happiness? Has it been a stranger or a loved one? It’s more challenging when it’s the latter.
Over the years I’ve learned the hard way how to chart my course and pick my battles. But, a question gets in the way. . .
How do we forgive the repeat offender? I’m asking . . .
Then I ask, what is the alternative to forgiveness? Revenge? Bitterness?
A grudge just sounds bad, grrrr. Kind of like an irritable animal no one wants to get near. Have you ever heard the saying, a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping another dies?
Sometimes we don’t know if we’re holding a grudge . . . but others do.
There have been times I’m asked how I can forgive an unthinkable act.
I can’t, but through Jesus . . .
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
What has been misunderstood by the one asking the question was the lengthy process (yet, instant) it took to get there. Forgiveness is a choice . . . now. However, sometimes it takes time to have it flow from the head to the heart, down to the feet to actually walk it out.
The Bible is filled with stories of forgiveness from Eden to the cross.
The beautiful forgiveness accounts in Genesis 25-33, the story of the divided brothers, Jacob and Esau, who run to one another with a forgiveness embrace. The story of Joseph (Genesis 37-45) thrown into a pit and sold out by family. He had plenty of reason not to get over it.
Then, recall the famous brother story of un-forgiveness resulting in murder because Cain chose not to get over it.
Maybe you don’t relate to the stories in the Bible.
Maybe you will understand the amazing picture of grace in this one . . .
A few years ago I was at a women’s retreat where a speaker told a story of radical forgiveness . . . it was unforgettable. It took place in near-by Lancaster County, Pa (before the Nickel Mines tragedy). A young man, a drunk driver, hit the back of a buggy carrying a family with a new bride and groom. The bride was killed instantly. The mourning groom went home to live with his new bride’s family. One day the young man responsible for the accident came along with his father to the home of the Amish family to beg forgiveness. The family welcomed him and sat them at table.
Amish grace. God’s grace. Indefinable, unbelievable.
It reminds me of how we may ask God’s forgiveness, repent, and are welcomed at His table.
Forgiveness is the balm on the scar of transgression that brings healing.
As I write this I have the choice to nurse a grudge or rehearse the truths that can bring me to the healing place. . . . . everyday.
Or, I’ll fail and be one of those angry people you might encounter today!
Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet leaves on the heel of the one who crushes it.