FORGIVENESS IS A CONVOLUTED PROCESS
WWII Nazi concentration camp survivor Corrie Ten Boom related her struggle on how she had chosen to forgive but remained unable to forget the wrong done to her. She kept reliving the incident in her mind to the point she could not sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help.
"God’s help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor," Corrie wrote, "to whom I confessed my failure after two sleepless weeks."
‘Up in the church tower,’ he said, nodding out the window, ‘is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there's a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we've been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn't be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They're just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down.’
"And so it proved to be. There were a few more midnight reverberations, a couple of dings when the subject came up in my conversations, but the force—which was my willingness in the matter—had gone out of them. They came less and less often and at the last stopped altogether: we can trust God not only above our emotions, but also above our thoughts."[i]
Here we read a vivid account of an age-old problem. What are we to do with hurt that keeps on resurfacing after forgiveness has been granted? What are we to do with painful emotions and destructive thoughts?
to forgive. We can’t do anything about injustice except choose how we will react.
If I had waited until I FELT
like forgiving, it would not have happened. Each day, each moment, I had to live out my decision to forgive until that bell finally stopped its’ incessant clang.
Thankfully, I can assure you the ringing stilled, my hands that desired to reach out in revenge relaxed, and peace, sweet peace soon followed.
If you place one good decision upon another, your day of freedom will come sooner than you anticipated. For Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9 NIV
Forgiveness creates peace withing your soul. This in turn generates peace in your circumstance because you willingly surrender your right to justice and trust God with the judgement.
How freeing to no longer carry the heavy weight of revenge and hatred!
You will never look back!
The cross can appear strangely distant when it comes time to forgive, because it uncomfortably makes us face the fact that it represents the forgiveness of ALL SIN.