“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
~ Lewis B. Smedes
Truth be told, if someone has hurt you, there is a good chance that person might not care. There are many people who have no problem at all using other people, calling other people names, insulting other people, or neglecting other people. If it comes to their attention that someone was upset or hurt by their words or actions, they continue on their way without a care in the world. It stands to reason that they would not even apologize for wrongs committed since they have no regard about the wrong that they have done.
If we have been hurt by someone like that and expect an apology, we will be sorely disappointed. However, that is exactly what happens. Many people want and expect some kind of apology. They become angry that an apology is not forthcoming and that anger festers inside of them. This anger can easily turn into depression or some other kind of misery.
Why let someone who has hurt us continue to do so? Yet, that is precisely what happens when we hold onto old hurts and refuse to forgive. The person who has harmed us might not care about us; but, we should care about ourselves. For our own good, we need to exercise forgiveness. That is the only way that we can get the strength and clarity to move on.
Forgiveness is a virtue. It is also self-preservation. Making a conscious effort to forgive those who have wronged us will set us free from the anger and other emotions that we may have bottled up and nursed. And it shows that we are children of God as well.
Who knows? Our act of forgiving just might be the catalyst that a person needs to change. Consider the example of Saul. He was tenacious in his rounding up and killing of Christians. Yet, as Stephen was stoned to death in Saul’s presence, Saul could hear Stephen’s words of forgiveness. I would like to think that was one of the things that prepared Saul for his encounter with the Lord on the way to Damascus.
Be strong. Be Christlike. Be free. Forgive.
FAITH ACTION: Call to mind any grudges that you hold or any lack of forgiveness you may have toward another person. Ask God to give you the strength and grace to forgive today.