To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was YOU.
– Louis Smedes
What would you say is the most powerful force in the world? Money? Enough of it can certainly change your life situation, but not bring you the wealth of friendship. Knowledge? Knowledge can capture the minds of people but not their hearts. Love? Ah, love IS such a very powerful force. But our understanding of love is so diluted; we love chocolate, we love music, we love that new car, we love our spouse, we love our child, we love our Creator God. One word doesn’t quite fit them all, does it? But true love generates other forces that have the power to change who you are, how you see yourself, and how you see others. Forgiveness is one of those most amazing forces.
Forgiveness captures not only the mind but also the heart. It frees us to accept ourselves and others and to love more deeply. And the lack of forgiveness imprisons us. It holds us in the grips of bitterness and regret. There have been times when I wounded someone’s spirit deeply by a careless word, and yet was met by their unconditional forgiveness. A simple act of mercy on their part changed both of us. It freed me from the guilt of misbehavior and it freed them from the prison created by bitterness and resentment.
Probably the most familiar verse in all the Bible is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”. Verse 17 explains God’s motivation for doing this: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
God’s forgiveness is available to all who believe in his son Jesus. He wipes the slate clean, past and present, and gives us a completely new life, here on earth and forever for all eternity. Such a powerful force is the merciful forgiveness of God.
Take a moment to ponder, is there anyone you hold a grudge against? Anyone you have offended? Seek forgiveness. Maybe it’s time you finally and completely forgive yourself for something in your past. If you’ve asked God for forgiveness, then why do you still hold yourself in prison? He has freed you. Go live your life in His name. Rest in His presence.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32