“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
– Lewis B. Smedes (Christian author)
“Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life.”
– John Lennon (Singer/song writer)
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Jesus Christ (Son of God)
How can you say that after what they did to you?
If we fail in the task of forgiveness, we will forever remain captive.
Those who hurt you go on with their lives.
Even if they have shame or guilt, it has no effect on you.
They are “free” to go about their business as usual.
We are held captive in our homes or our bodies and in our minds and our behaviors.
Anything but free. Victims forever.
When we will not learn to forgive, and it does take some learning, we then begin to have a whole nother set of circumstances.
Our brains become clouded.
Maybe with hatred and bitterness, definitely with confusion.
Our bodies may begin to become sick. Our chemicals may become off balanced.
Our emotions become overwhelmed. We may believe we are not worthy to be cared for and loved on.
We may even begin to believe that whatever was done to us was deserved.
Feeling that sense of wrongful entitlement (since we deserved it right?) causes us to medicate ourselves to hide the pain.
This may manifest itself in many ways that often include;
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
- Self mutilation
- Sexual disorders
- Poor health
- Excessive fear/guilt/shame
- Excessive introvert/extrovert behaviors
This list is in no way inclusive, and the combinations of these symptoms are endless.
The truth about this list is that with it in place, the mind can never fully be at rest.
The Bible speaks to this issue in the book of Proverbs.
Chapter 14, verse 30 in the Amplified Bible.
A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body,
but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.
Again this issue is referred to in the book of Proverbs
Chapter 17, verse 22 in the New International Version.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
In the end, unforgiveness, causes us great unhappiness,
and causes much distress in our tissues and a crushing in our bones.
The ACTION of forgiveness takes only a moment.
The walking out of it in our everyday life,
requires much returning to the ACTION that we took.
Forgiveness, is a verb. An action word.
Sometimes we must return to that action daily or hourly, but more often every few minutes until the “sense” of forgiveness sticks.
How will you know when it’s sticking?
You’ll gradually sense a lighter feeling on a more regular basis, and somewhere down the road,
you’ll look back and realize that the pain has really lessened, and you’ve hardly given those
circumstances a second thought. The heaviness on your heart has been lifted.
You may even be able to pray for the one who caused you so much pain to begin with.
Luke 26:28 (NASB) Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Sounds impossible doesn’t it? Believe me it’s not.
It is not easy, I won’t let on like it is, but it is possible.
Mark 9:23-24 NIV 1984 says “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Please pray with me.
I pray today that you will help me to forgive the people in my life that have caused me harm.
I don’t want to be their captive any more.
I’m not sure I believe it is possible, but You say it is, so I’ll try to believe.
Father, my prayer today does not mean that the things in my past did not occur.
What it means is that I want to give up my captivity to them,
so that I can begin to live a life in the freedom that You alone can provide.
Lord give me a Significant Encounter with You.
Let the change in me begin today.
One step at a time, so that when I look back, what I’ll see is You.
In Jesus name,