Unforgiveness: An Enemy of Peace
December 19, 2018
Every time I find myself having difficulties extending forgiveness to someone I imagine undeserving, I remember how unworthy I am of forgiveness. I remember countless times when I clearly deserved severe punishment from God, yet He chose to forgive me completely. When I consider the enormity of that, every situation in life where I feel reluctant to forgive seems inconsequential. If you say you want to be like Christ, you have to be willing to forgive those who hurt you intentionally and unintentionally. There should be no limit to your forbearance. When Jesus said forgive 70×7, He meant we should forgive as many times as we remember the offence. It’s hard to forgive; it’s even harder to forget. Someone once said forgiveness is not backing a new born baby. It’s much like hauling an old man in a wheelchair up the mountain. I couldn’t agree more. But, Christ demands it so we must give all of it without reservation. When we have made up our minds to forgive the offender, the Holy Spirit swings into action and makes it a reality. Holding on to resentment only takes our joy, while doing no harm to the other party. They probably don’t even know you are aggrieved. Are you sat in a corner, reeling out reasons that fellow doesn’t deserve forgiveness? Your reasons might be earthly valid, but heavenly invalid. Saint Stephen had no reason to forgive those who stoned him to death, yet he did. Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross. He forgave Peter who denied him thrice. Why can’t you forgive that neighbor who lied against you? That I-too-know colleague who humiliated you before your platinum customers?
Forgiveness is a decision not a feeling. I remember when I used to claim I had forgiven people, yet I fumed each time they either sneezed or coughed. If they walked into a room, I would use the nearest exit. Everything about them sucked. They brimmed with energy, while I was completely frazzled. They had no idea I was aggrieved. What a colossal waste of energy! The moment I had a-head-and-heart- on collision with the Holy Spirit, I not only forgave, but asked God to bless them. That moment was ecstatic. I couldn’t contain my joy as I felt a heavy burden lifted off my shoulder. Then, I realized unforgiveness was such a heavy burden. Both the prisoner and warder are in prison. Set yourself free. If God dealt with us as carelessly as we committed sin, our cases would be worse than Job.
God’s forgiveness is like tippexing an error on a paper so that the error is no longer visible. He expects us to do the same. How do you know you’ve truly forgiven a person? When you have truly forgiven someone, you don’t try to get even. You don’t revisit the past. You don’t go speaking to everyone about it. You pray for them and wish them well. Even if they carried on with their lives as if they didn’t nearly cause you an emotional break down, let God handle them. Don’t play God’s part by plotting revenge. He says vengeance is His. Do your job and let Him do His. You can’t be fighting for Him and expecting Him to fight for you.
When we declare something to be unforgivable, we are sinning by pridefully trying to trump the power and will of God. In essence, we are saying we are more powerful than God. I have had to forgive people who did me dirty. They went about their normal business as if they did absolutely nothing wrong. Yet, I forgave them. I did that for me. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone the offence or just overlook it as if it’s nothing. Address the issue and let it go. Don’t overanalysize. The offence isn’t as deep as Jesus’ sides that were struck with an arrow. What they did to you is minuscule compared to what was done to Jesus. Meditate on this! It is absolutely true that some people take advantage of those who forgive easily. When that starts to happen, distance yourself from them. Forgive their trespasses, but love them from over there. If you find yourself always apologizing for their own wrongs, cut them. They are inimical to your health. Life is too short to spend it with people who undervalue you. Move them to the balcony and move on with people who value you. Show them love. Help when you can, but keep them at arm’s length.
We do ridiculous things trying to get even. It’s like eating a dog’s poop because he ate yours. The devil will give you a million and one reasons you shouldn’t forgive. Don’t forget to give him that one reason – freedom. Forgiveness isn’t for the offender, it is for you. Let go and let God. I have since found that one of the reasons our prayers are unanswered is because our minds are dirty. We love to be promoted. But, sometimes we fail tests in certain areas that keep us from getting promoted. Areas like Unforgiveness. Unforgiveness hinders your blessings. The devil knows when your breakthrough is close so he sends a family member or friend to get on your last nerve. Be vigilant! That’s a trap. You can get angry but never stay angry. Forgive them so that not one of your blessings will slip off your finger. If you’ve been praying and your situation has metamorphosed from bad to worse, it’s time to do a mind check. Who do you need to forgive? Are you one of those who say it’s only God that will unite them and the offender on the last day?
Lastly, mind the content you consume online. I came across a page yesterday on Instagram where one lady asked an “influencer” if it was appropriate to forgive a particular guy who she reckoned was undeserving of forgiveness. He responded, “you don’t have to forgive him, if the story you told me is exactly what happened. Distance yourself from him. Your peace of mind is important.” I clutched my chest and wondered how one would claim their mind is at peace when it’s, in reality, in turmoil. If this isn’t the definition of self-delusion, I don’t know what is. You can’t hold grudges and claim to have peace of mind. If so, then, peace of mind has been redefined. Grudges and peace of mind are like light and darkness. They have no business together. If you think your mind is at peace holding grudges, try forgiveness, unpack your luggage and tell me how you feel. “Peace is the fruit of the victory of God’s love over evil; it is the fruit of forgiveness.” Pope Francis. Nothing robs you of your peace like Unforgiveness.
If you find it difficult to forgive, call on the Holy Spirit, “Holy Spirit, take care of my life and unite me to you,” mean what you say and watch how he transforms your life. I pray for you to discern his voice when He speaks. The Holy Spirit is peace. When you are united to him, you don’t stay angry. You forgive easily. You have peace indescribable. It worked for me, still works and it will surely work for you.
Don’t miss your blessings dwelling on past hurts. If forgiveness is needed, today is the day to make it right.