Forgiveness Sets You Free
What is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness sets you free. Per Wikipedia, it is defined as the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. However, it can be hard to do.
Lessons From A Survivor
Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor was called a traitor when she publicly forgave Auschwitz guard Oskar Groening. Eva and her twin sister were experimented on by the evil Nazi Dr Josef Mengele at the Nazi death camp.
But Eva explained:
As long as we understand my forgiveness that the victim has a right to be free, you cannot be free from what was done to you unless you remove from your shoulder the daily burden of pain and anger and forgive the Nazis – not because they deserve it, but because I deserve it.
Think about the times someone has hurt you or hurt someone you loved and you burned with rage. It’s hard to forgive that person. I know how this hurts. But think about that person. They, most likely, are moving on without giving the situation a second thought. The only person being continually hurt by the incident is you.
When I think of this story, I think that if someone who’d suffered so much gave offer forgiveness, why can’t I?
When Jesus’ own people, who’d welcomed him with palms before asking for His death, had Him crucified, He asked the Father to forgive them.
34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Luke 23:34 (ESV)
I’ve often thought of this and countered by saying that I’m just human and don’t have a heart like Jesus. However, that is purely an excuse.
Recently, I felt such a burning rage towards a kid for how she’d treated my daughter. So much that I couldn’t sleep. I thought all sorts of horrible things about that child. But, I stepped out on faith and told my story to a few others, something I don’t normally do. We all prayed about it. I prayed for my daughter and for myself. I prayed that God would open my heart to be forgiving because I was having a hard time doing it on my own. The situation was making me ill, but the other party had moved on. The only person being hurt was myself. God did change my heart, all I had to do was ask. While the situation is still bothersome, I’m not losing sleep nor do I feel all of that pent up anger and hatred. My daughter also recognized the situation for what it was. While she is upset over losing a friend, she recognizes that she has plenty of other friends and that this one kid was rather toxic.
As Eva Kor said, the victim has a right to be free.
If you are feeling anger and hatred towards someone and think you can never forgive them, ask God to help. You are hurting yourself with your anger. Free yourself so that you can move on.
Prayer for today
Father, I ask that You touch anyone today who is feeling anger or hatred in her heart towards another person. I ask that You please help her to release that anger and enjoy the freedom that You want us to have.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.