You’ve heard, former procrastinators, that not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s a festering sore that infects our thoughts, actions, and interactions with that person and others. It’s a lead weight that drags us down even though we intend to communicate we’re fine. Most of all it affects our relationship with the Lord.
When we cherish sin in our hearts, the Lord will not listen. Psalm 66:18.
In some cases, we’re quick to hold things against folks. Is a small offense a big deal for you? I remember someone apologizing to my mom. Her response was, “Oh, my goodness! You’d have to do a whole lot worse than that to upset me.”
Some sins against us are deeply grievous and cause serious injury. Find counsel to help you realize God’s love for you and help you heal. Forgiveness is a critical step in healing. Letting go the bitter demand that the other person pay opens a door to wellness.
We can ask the Lord to reveal unforgiveness in us. When He does, we can step into the light, forgive, and live free.
Corrie ten Boom experienced this. (Read her book, Tramp for the Lord.) She and her family saved Jewish lives during World War II. They were imprisoned and family members died there. She herself was set free by mistake. After Tante Corrie spoke one night on forgiveness, a man approached her. She recognized him as one of the most cruel guards in the concentration camp. “I was a guard there…I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein, will you forgive me?”
She could not. But she knew “if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father in heaven forgive yours.” She knew forgiveness is an act of the will. “Jesus, help me.” She mechanically lifted her hand and grasped the man’s extended hand. Healing warmth flooded her whole being. “I forgive you, brother! With all my heart.” It was the power of the Holy Spirit.
The enemy will remind us of our wounds. Then we tell the enemy we have forgiven, and we will not go back. Tante Corrie used to say that God casts our sins into the sea. Then He posts a “No Fishing” sign there. We do not return to the sin, nor do we return to brood on the wrongs of the past.
We need not drink the poison that is unforgiveness. Jesus gives us Living Water.
Who do you need to forgive?