Many years ago my friend’s sister was murdered. She was beautiful, smart, and the darling of four brothers and one other sister. Her murderer was soon found, tried, and sentenced to prison. Several months after the trial, the family was astounded and angered when the mother wrote a letter of forgiveness to the man who had been charged with the murder. They ostracized her, withdrew from her, and had nothing but wrath for her action. Nothing, they felt, was too bad for the man: he had taken their sister, and they wanted the death penalty.
Isn’t that so like us? When someone hurts us, wounds our family, or violates us somehow, we want revenge and nothing short of death will compensate for our loss! But if death comes to the person we have learned to hate, what then? Are we all of a sudden “okay” and our world is right again? Of course not! The bitterness is still there.
When we have something in our past that created years of misery for people we love, the sad truth is, no amount of apologizing can atone for the act, no matter how sorry we are! At that point we are faced with two types of people: those who are willing to forgive, and those who aren’t. Those, as it is said today, who lets the circumstance cause them to become “bitter” or “better!” Meanwhile, we live with the consequences every day.
How does this all tie in with our walk with Christ? Because the sin in our past so often alienates some of those that we love, and they want nothing to do with a God who will not continue to punish us; they want not just revenge, but vindictiveness that continues to hurt, just as they still carry scars or open wounds. Anything less, to them, will not satisfy. And we are rendered helpless in trying to tell them that He sees their unforgiving spirit and bitterness as just as brutal a sin as the one which we committed. We don’t want to alienate them further, so we keep quiet and watch the years roll by.
Oh, that they would come to know the grace and forgiveness of God! That they would understand the freedom in His forgiveness and cleansing free from sin! Can you get past the bitterness, and truly let go of it? If you are the bitter one, can you not see that it is hurting not only you, but everyone who is close to you? And would the death of the one who caused you misery make it “all better”? Try to open your heart to God’s healing forgiveness, so that you can be happy again! It won’t wipe away the years of scars, but it will begin a new day!
Dear Father, if anyone is reading this who has someone in their past that they have not forgiven, will You please help them to see that their unforgiveness creates a barrier between You and them? And if someone has wronged others, and is genuinely repentant, please send them peace while they wait as years go by, and don’t let them become weary in praying for those they wronged. Life is so difficult when we hurt, Lord, but we know that You–and You alone–can make us into new creations, and give us “hope, and a future”! Amen
If you are hurting today, and need someone to talk to, you are welcome to write a note to me!