Unforgiveness ties us to a person forever. Forgiveness releases.
I spoke a couple of weeks ago about the process of forgiveness. Click here if you didn't get a chance to watch it. I learned by going through a very difficult experience in my life that this is never easy. Upon sharing this tough memory of mine, I learned 2 things:
- Too many other people went through this abuse as well
- Unforgiveness absolutely wrecks us
I spoke to so many people afterwards and learned that a lot of them went through this sexual abuse themselves. Sadly, more often than not, it was internal (family) that did the abusing. Some still have to be in the same room with the ones who did this to them. I cannot fathom. Their quest to forgive seems immeasurable.
I've read a lot about forgiveness recently. When we refuse to forgive someone, we still want something from them, even if it's revenge that we want, it keeps us tied to the person forever. Unforgiveness destroys a good life. Forgiveness creates it. To forgive means we will never get from that person what was owed us. What's done is done and can't be undone. But the result of forgiveness is freedom from that reality and the chance to have a future unaffected by resentment and grudges from the past. It takes the power away from others (the ones that hurt you), and we get our lives back. Forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred and the waste of energy.
When we read through God's Word, we read of so many examples of incredible forgiveness starting with the most amazing one of all: Jesus. In the most horrific setting, nailed to a cross, beaten and bloodied, mocked and ridiculed, spit at and whipped, Jesus says, "Father forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." Luke 23:34. This sets the bar high. He's the example we should follow in our own lives.
We left that Sunday with a call to action. We left writing initials of someone that we know we should, at the very least, start a process of forgiving. I hope and pray that all of you who took part in this are making progress. For those who were not there, who is it that you need to start forgiving today?