Forgiveness Can Set You Free
Have you ever had someone in your life that you knew you needed to forgive, but you just didn't want to? Maybe you knew it was the right thing to do, but you were mad or hurt or a little of both.
Perhaps, this person is just a rotten so-and-so, who constantly does or says things that are worthy of being on your "no-forgiveness" list. Or, it could be that you have held on to your anger toward that person for so long, you have no idea what your life would be like without it.
And if you are trying to be a "good Christian" you sometimes feel a little guilty that you don't want to forgive them.
In his wonderful book, What's So Amazing About Grace? Philip Yancey gives some very good reasons why forgiveness is so much more than just being magnanimous, or "doing the right thing." It's a life-giving, resurrection-powered action.
He asserts first that forgiveness can "halt the cycle of blame and pain," that keeps us bound to the guilty party. It also "loosens the stranglehold of guilt" in the person you are forgiving, allowing transformation to happen in their life.
Finally, Yancey states that forgiveness helps us to realize "we are not as different from the wrongdoer as we would like to think." In other words, we discover new levels of self-awareness and are able to look at the guilty party and say, "What I see in you, I see in me."
Rob Bell did a video teaching on forgiveness some years ago, and in his teaching he indicated that practicing forgiveness was an act of intentionally setting someone free, and then finding out it was you--you were the one who needed to be set free.
(Watch the Rob Bell video "Luggage" by clicking here)
May we find the strength to forgive those who have wronged us, wounded us, treated us badly, spoken ill of us, stabbed us in the back... May we let go of our need to hold on to our grace toward them. May we set ourselves free by setting those who have hurt us free through forgiveness.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and forever. Amen.