Freedom Through Forgiveness
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”Martin Luther King, Jr.
At one time or another, we have all been wronged in such a way that we lose hope, we feel a fracture in our relationships, and we fight the natural response that seeks revenge.
The more we succumb to our natural inclinations towards revenge, anger, retaliation, and blame, the deeper we find ourselves in the pit imprisoned by our failure to forgive.
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance (however justified it might be), and with an increased ability to wish the offender well.Wikipedia – Forgiveness
When we withhold forgiveness, our humanness somehow believes we are getting back at our enemy for their words or actions that violated us. In reality, our failure to forgive is hurting us more than we realize.
I love this quote from Maya Angelou:
“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”Maya Angelou
Forgiveness is a gift. It’s a gift to ourselves. When we forgive, we open the door to freedom. We find a freedom to let go of the past, a freedom to look forward to the future with hope, and a freedom that comes from letting go of our relentless pursuit of trying to even the score with our enemies.
We all need this gift. We need this freedom.
And this is why I encourage you to consider forgiveness.
I’ll confess forgiveness doesn’t always come easy at first, but the more we practice forgiveness the easier it becomes. Developing a discipline of forgiveness produces the freedom we all need.
And one more thing, don’t forget that we too need forgiveness. We need to be forgiven. We are all messed up, screwed up people. With this in mind, I’m thankful for a God who forgives.
Jesus implies (okay, he says it pretty clearly) that if we want to be forgiven, we must forgive others.
“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”Jesus – Matthew 6:15 (NIV)
In other words, when we forgive others we find our own freedom and forgiveness.
I don’t know how you’ve been violated. I don’t know how you’ve been wronged. I don’t know how you’ve been mistreated, profaned, desecrated, or falsely accused. But I know as hard as it may seem, forgiveness is the way. I encourage you to forgive.
Imagine how differently your world would be if you were able to experience the freedom that comes when you forgive others. Imagine the new time and energy you would have for renewing thoughts, activities, and conversations that you have wasted by holding a grudge.