Sunday, February 26, 2017

Love Means Saying "You're Forgiven"!

"Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free, and realizing you were the prisoner."

Yesterday, my post was about apologizing, saying AND meaning those words, "I'm so sorry!" Today's is the reciprocating action.....being quick to forgive. How is that possible when we may have been hurt so deeply and their "I'm sorry" just isn't enough?

I've read many incredible stories about people who forgave in the most heart-wrenching situations, especially when forgiving would seem so unnecessary on a human level.

On October 2, 2006, Charles Carl Roberts walked into an Amish school in rural Pennsylvania and shot ten young school girls, killing five of them. On the same day of the shooting, a grandfather of one of the girls who had died, told other relatives, "We must not think evil of this man." Another member of the community visited the shooter's family that day to comfort them and offer forgiveness. Dozens more attended his funeral and offered to give financial support to his widow. One member of the community later said, "I don't think there's anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss, but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts."

The truth about forgiveness is that it is not a natural response and it isn’t for the person we’re forgiving. It’s for us. I heard it quoted: "Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." Unwillingness to forgive eats away at our hearts and souls, while forgiveness frees us. No greater forgiver was Jesus -- Who after the lies, rejections, beatings, denials and pain, said "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

When we have been hurt, we face the same challenge that those who we've hurt faced. Will we respond with kindness, compassion and forgiveness? And, will forgiving become a way of life for us? The Apostle Paul said, "Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ." Ephesians 4:32. Sure seems like a tall order, but one that comes with sweet rewards. We can move on with our life, have freedom from the pain of the past, enjoy greater happiness in the present and greater health and well-being. The fact is love mean saying "You're forgiven!" We may not forget, but we are at least free from the burden of unforgiveness. It’s not that we dismiss the pain but it does mean we recognize that even our greatest wounds and deepest pain will one day be transformed into beauty by our God who wastes nothing.