Friday, October 10, 2014

True Forgiveness Sets Free

Are you one of those human beings who perpetually punishes people who did you wrong? If you hear their names, do you immediately say ugly things about them, making sure the wounds inflicted remain visible and raw? Do you secretly (or openly) wish harm to them? Do you smile when problems come their? If you answered yes to any of the above, you haven't practiced true forgiveness.

Forgiving someone who wounded you isn't an easy thing to do. In fact, it can be more painful than the wound he or she inflicted— I've been there. You want them to pay for what they did. You want them to suffer and bleed. You want them to fall in a dark hole in a snake-infested forest. You want them to get chiggers and die scratching. You want them to get what they deserve!

But true forgiveness seeks just the opposite. 

True forgiveness issues a pardon, and gives the guilty person a free pass out of jail. Does that mean you forget what was done to you? No. But forgiveness isn't about forgetting. Forgiveness is about remembering without revenge. And once you cease to remember the sin against the sinner, you've set that person free—and you've also set yourself free from his or her control. As you have forgiven others, God can now forgive you.

Warren Wiersbe once wrote, "The most miserable prison in the world is the prison we make for ourselves when we refuse to show mercy." Truer words were never spoken, and no matter how deep the wound or how evil the deed, life is too short to live it behind bars of your own making. ♦


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