Two stories on forgiveness. The first story is of a woman who was bitter because she refused to forgive, the other about a man who chose to show forgiveness and likely changed a mans heart forever for the better.
I was at a bible study once a while back at someones house. There was an older woman there whose son was dying in the hospital. Some of those at the bible study were trying to reason with her and tried to encourage her to visit her son. She refused and said how her son had wronged her and that she could never forgive him. How sad.
I read a book recently that said, “not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die” (Traveling Mercies – Anne Lammot). How true that is. It was tragic seeing the bitterness and unforgiveness in that womans life.
Here is another story of Kris Vallotton, a man who owned a car parts store and a car repair shop. One day he came in to find that someone had stolen some rims and tires from his store. Time passed and then one day a man shows up at his car repair shop with these same rims and tires on his truck. Kris had a decision to make.
He could have just phoned the police as any sensible person would, but instead he chose to do something radical – he chose to forgive. He called the guy into his office and said something like, “Look, I know what you did. I know you stole my tires and rims but I want you to know that I forgive you. And to show you that I forgive you, I’m not even going to charge you for the repair work done on your vehicle.” The man was stunned and speachless and just sat in his truck for five minutes before leaving.
I can only imagine the effect that day had on that man. I would bet that he didn’t steal anymore. I would bet that the forgiveness and grace shown him that day changed his heart far more than jail time would have.
Forgiveness has the power to heal this broken world. Forgiveness is the one thing that brings healing when nothing else can. But first we must receive God’s forgiveness. Imagine for a moment God calling you into his “office” and saying to you, “Look, I know what you did. I forgive you. And to show you that I forgive you, I have personally paid the punishment for your misdeeds and crimes that you deserve. Receive my forgiveness and be a part of the cure to this broken world. Give the one thing that heals the wounds of the world – forgive. As Jesus once said to his followers, “freely you have received, freely give.” Freely forgive.” thanks for listening
Here is an inspiring poem by Rosamond Herklots to which my wife Catherine wrote a chorus. We recorded the song but it has yet to be released.
Forgive our sins as we forgive
You taught us Lord to pray
But you alone can grant us grace
To live the words we say
How can your pardon reach and bless
An unforgiving heart
That broods on wrongs and will not let
Old bitterness depart
How completely you forgive
Your blood has made me clean
When I am wounded, hurt, or wronged
You ask the same of me
In blazing light your cross reveals
The truth we dimly knew
How trifling others debts to us
How great our debt to you
Lord cleanse the depths within our souls
And bid resentment cease
And by Your mercy reconciled
Our lives with spread your peace
Our lives will spread your peace
Let us spread your peace