Friday, September 16, 2011

Choosing Forgiveness

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble; and by it many be defiled.” Hebrews 12:15 (NAS)

All of us have experienced a hurtful situation in our lives that invoke painful memories. Even to think about those hurts can cause strong negative emotions. We all do our best at times to suppress our painful memories. Sometimes people will fool themselves into believing that the negative feelings will go away and stop causing pain if they just don’t think about them. This often happens in cases of divorce or in fragmented quarrels between siblings, or between parents and children.

The truth is, people can’t just choose to cut themselves off from the conflict completely, as though the event never happened or as though the other person never existed. Time can be therapeutic, but it is not true that time heals all things. Often when a bitter reaction rises up it reveals that painful experience that was lodged in the heart has sprung to life again.

You might have thought you have forgiven and forgotten. But if memories stir up another round of pain, it may be that you have merely worked hard at forgetting and forgiveness has not become complete. When forgiveness is complete, the memory of the event will no longer cause the pain.

True forgiveness must become a daily discipline in our lives. We must continually choose to forgive and go to God in prayer and allow Him to accomplish in us what we cannot truly do on our own. The Lord says to us very clearly every day “FORGIVE!” Unforgiveness is a poison. It doesn’t produce life. It brings death. “Bless the one who persecutes you.”

If we are dying because of our own unforgiveness, how are we going to bring life to anyone else? If we want someone to change from darkness to light, we are to bless them and pray for goodness to come to them.

When we forgive, we bless. We have to choose to do that. We pray blessing on the life of the one who has attacked us or hurt us, then we leave it up to God to decide what form that blessing will take. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.” Romans 12:14

- Pastor Virgil Amundson