Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Unforgiveness will turn you into someone you never intended to be, displaying the attitudes and qualities you detest in others. – Nancy DeMoss
There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness. – Josh Billings
A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers. – Ruth Bell Graham
At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22, MSG
I’ve heard some amazing Lenten sacrifices in this year’s offerings, from much-needed radiation treatment for an advancing cancer to finally laying down grief in the loss of a dearly loved parent.
Here’s one I have not heard, although I have no doubt it’s being offered:
How about forgiving?
There are some really great wins and guarantees to our forgiving an offense:
(1) it lessens its intensity
(2) it reduces its frequency of reminding you of the offense
(3) it expands my capacity to (finally!) be a loving, inoffensible person
If we truly see the wealth of what can be gained by simply forgiving, we might not only adopt it as a Lenten possibility, but a lifetime reality.
To fail to extend forgiveness–even to someone who does not request it–puts the offended person in a bunkered-down state. Moving forward is out of the question. There is no future for an unforgiving person, only the baleful reliving of the past. Over and over again. It is deadly toxic and crippling.
Of all the things that choke and poison spiritual growth, resentments are probably the most devastatingly effective.
E. Stanley Jones
Stop living as though someone else is to blame for your life. Get revenge on whoever offended you by letting them out of your debtor’s jail. The joke will be on them. While they think they are getting a reprieve, it will be you who will finally breathe the fresh air and run through fields of wildflowers beneath cobalt skies. Go on, forgive them. Release it. Let it go.
And, for mercy’s sake, move on.