I had been thinking about the power of forgiveness and the relief our body
and spirit receives when we forgive those who have hurt us. Many times we
hold on to grudges and refuse to forgive and forget the past. The truth is
the pain and hurt that we suffered will never be completely gone because
we keep a sense of the past in and through our future when we choose to
not be forgiving. If our Heavenly Father has forgiven us of our past
mistakes, we also should forgive those who have made mistakes toward us.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men
their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
encourage you to have the mind of Christ and be forgiving towards those who
have hurt you, because in doing so, you will be making God's love visible.
I hope this story will help you to see the benefits of having a forgiving
heart. You will not only be blessing someone else with your forgiveness,
but you also will receive the Peace and Joy in your heart for following
God's commandment and being forgiving towards others. (Luke 6:37)
HOW HEAVY IS YOUR BAG?
One of my teachers had each one of us bring a clear plastic bag and a sack
of potatoes. For every person we'd refuse to forgive in our life
experience, we were told to choose a potato, write on it the name and
date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of our bags, as you can imagine,
were quite heavy.
We were then told to carry this bag with us everywhere for one week,
putting it beside our bed at night, on the car seat when driving as well
as next to our desk at work.
The hassle of lugging this around with us made it clear what a weight we
were carrying spiritually, and how we had to pay attention to it all the
time to not forget. Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated
to a nasty slime.
This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and
heavy negativity! Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other
person, but it clearly is for ourselves as much as anyone!
So the next time you decide you can't forgive someone, ask yourself...
Isn't my bag heavy enough?
I did not write these three paragraphs below, but they go along with this
message and so I am adding it as a companion to the story:
The evidence that anger kills is growing every day. Doctor Redford Williams
says that the stress hormone Cortisol, which fuels anger, literally tears
blood vessels, causing damage to your arteries. Continuous anger prevents
the healing process from taking place, so once the damage is done, a single
bout of rage can trigger a fatal heart attack.
Jesus said, "Don't lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right.
Do it now, otherwise an inevitable process starts working, and continues
until you have paid the last penny in pain and distress" (Matthew 5:25-26
paraphrased). Set it down, before it costs you the race! Forgive! Even if
the person who wronged you never admits it, or seems to suffer for what
they've done. Forgiving will set you free and enable you to move forward,
and that is what's important!
Never underestimate the power of forgiveness. It's the one power you always
have over the person who hurt you. Lincoln said, "The best way to destroy
an enemy, is to make him a friend." Forgiveness will put a spring in your
spiritual step, and give you a second wind for the race of life. Go ahead,
forgive, and see what happens!
Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Mark 11:25-26 Jesus declares, "And whenever you stand praying, if you have
anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also
forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your
Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Matthew 18:21-22 "Then Peter came to Him and said, Lord, how often shall
my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus
said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy
times seven." (490 times)
Matthew 5:43-46 Jesus says, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall
love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your
enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and
pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, "that you may be
sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and
on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. "For if you love
those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors
do the same?"
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our
outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the
things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things
which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
All scriptures can be found in the New King James Version.
In Christ's Service,
Gods Work Ministry