By Pastor Bernie McGraw New Life Lehigh Acres
We all have a story. There are things that have caused us to be hurt and offended. Our entire goal in life at times is to get revenge. Jesus gave us an interesting thought when He said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” in Luke 23:34. No greater words of compassion and mercy have ever been spoken. Jesus commands us to forgive, yet most of us treat His words as suggestions. We think by forgiving we approve of what was done or let them off the hook. This is perhaps one of the most difficult areas for people to deal with. Because of that, many live their lives with anger and bitterness, with unforgiveness controlling their lives. Our human nature cannot bear the thought that someone who hurt us would get away with what he has done. We tend to react as a snake that immediately pulls back to attack when threatened. Jesus gives us a clear example of what it means to forgive. By asking the Father to forgive them, He showed not only that He had forgiven them and released them from their guilt but also that He wanted His Father to refrain from punishing them. Even though the pain is real, we must get to the place where we can release those who have offended us. This of course takes time to work through. Living a life free from unforgiveness is very liberating. It has been said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Studies show that the first person to experience delight when forgiveness takes place is the one who forgives. Dare to let it go. You will be the one who is free!