Wednesday, November 9, 2011


“The first and often the only person to be healed by forgiveness is the person who does the forgiving. When we genuinely forgive, we set a prisoner free and then discover that the prisoner we set free was us. “
Lewis Smedes

This really doesn’t relate to my recent post on “Amish Grace” but forgiveness is extremely important to our spiritual and emotional health. Grace is the “free and undeserved favor … especially of God.” As we are supposed to become more and more like Him, we need to understand how to offer free and undeserved favor to others.  To those we need to forgive, whether we think they deserve it or not.

Some would look toward self-help books to clear grudges that grow greater rather than dissipating over the years. The best example I can think of comes from the prayer Jesus gave us:

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12 KJV)

Each of need to determine if we can safely pray this sentence.  Do we really want our debts forgiven in the same manner we forgive others? The same manner as that group of Amish families forgave Charles Roberts? You know, forgiving without holding back the hurt, the humiliation, the anger that goes with holding on to a grudge, without counting times or saying who did what first.

The person being forgiven isn’t carrying our hurt, our humiliation, our anger, though they may have their own. Why then do we want to hang on to our? Isn’t it a heavy burden that we don’t have to bear?

I’ve seen the best example in my Beloved Husband, who exchanged his burdens for another’s:

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:30 KJV)

What have I seen?  I’ve seen him provided a home for the birth mother who signed him away for adoption, later abandoning four other children. I’ve seen him provide loving comfort to the adoptive mother who once told him she didn’t want to adopt him.  He held her hand in the hospital, brought her the requested malt to give her comfort during her last illness. Minor events among many others, but they speak of his lovingkindness.

Matthew added two thoughts along the same line after our Lord’s prayer:

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15 KJV)

There are consequences, not only for our actions but for our lack of action on God’s commands and His will. Allow Him to search your heart, then clear it of grudges, anger and hatred by forgiving the unforgiveable. It will bring healing.

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