One day I was teaching at the treatment center, where I consult, on forgiveness. But I was a little taken aback by the level of UN – forgiveness I heard. Some people spoke in no uncertain terms of their desire to see their offenders mercilessly destroyed.
It’s interesting to me how I can talk to people for days on end about forgiveness only to realize that I’m not making ANY headway. Some people have decided…no, it’s stronger than that…they have VOWED to not forgive. That’s a scary thing. They have no idea what they are doing to themselves.
Jesus said that the evil one comes to steal, rob and destroy us. I’m convinced that one un- forgiveness one of the schemes of destruction. It’s like a cancer that eats away at your soul every day you allow it to be there.Yet in spite of this destruction, we believe the lie that un- forgiveness empowers us.
Forgiveness Sets You Free
Some have said that all you have to do is forgive and forget. But it’s impossible to forgive the pain of things like abuse and betrayal. We forget the small things in life. But with the larger, more painful things we need need to forgive. Forgiveness is what sets us free from what we can’t forget.
You might say, “I can’t forgive.” But if someone hurts you once…why do you want to marry yourself to that person through hatred and revenge, allowing the memory of them to hurt you over and over again? You invite them back into your life every day to abuse you one more time. The best thing you can do for YOURSELF is forgive. Move on. Take back your life. Let God deal with your abuser/betrayer.
My class had a 60 year old man and a 20 year old girl…both trapped in un- forgiveness. The 60 year old had been that way his entire life…and it showed in every deep line on his face. I hoped the girl saw what I saw. I wanted to ask her…is that what you want to look like in 40 years? Is your bitterness and resentment worth it? Her hatred doesn’t hurt her offender…only her.
If she could hurt her offender with some act of retribution, what would that achieve? Then she would have to deal with the guilt and consequences of her revenge. Plus, she would reduce herself to her offender’s level. I want her to have a good life. I want her to be free to reclaim her life. Forgiveness is her only hope. Could it be yours too?
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