the Power of Forgiveness
“How often shall I forgive?” (Mt. 18:21)
orgiveness is a spiritual feat. Forgiveness is
grace. Grace cannot be hoarded, stowed away, or home grown. Grace has
one fountain and that fountain is somewhere in the heart of God. In
forgiveness we become a channel, a riverbed, a wadi, through which the
goodness of God runs down, gurgling, bubbling, and springing up with
living water to irrigate parched earth. Without forgiveness life
becomes an arid desert in which nothing good grows. Therefore, I must
forgive. I must allow God’s living water to pour down and pour in,
covering the rocks and stones of a hundred hurts, covering them as only
grace can if there is any hope for the land to become green again.
A wounded spirit is more likely (in flesh) to call
down fire from the heavens, and that would only make things more barren
(Lk. 9:55). A broken heart (of human nature) is more likely to
curse than to bless. An angry soul is more likely to ask God to
withhold the rain and pray that the enemy's crops would wither. Jesus said we must
forgive. A good God allows His rain to fall on the just and the
A soul that refuses to forgive is one that secretly
prays for drought, and in so doing becomes dry and cracked itself. Joy
wilts and the blooms turn brown and the harvest never comes. How much
better to forgive.
When we are hurt by wrong done to us, a gaping
fissure opens up in the earth that divides the land and makes our life
smaller. And with so many opportunities to be hurt here in this world,
our life is in danger of breaking up like an ice pack in an Artic
spring. The life that lives on such an ice flow finds its world
getting smaller and smaller everyday. So it is with a man who will not
forgive. Each offense cracks the ground under his feet as if the huge
tectonic plates of the earth slip apart. Deep ravines open up after
such an earthquake and neighbors are separated and neighborhoods
divided. The fissures between the Palestinian and Israel are as deep as
man’s heart is dark. Walls only make it darker.
When the earth cracks open, we may not be able to
move things back in place. The earth and world are too large for that.
Neither can we fill in the great giant crevices caused by wrongs, for
they are too deep. We can build bridges however to reconnect the land.
We can, by forgiveness, refuse to allow our lives to become little. We
can understand why the Kurd cannot forgive the Turk. They do not have
Jesus and they do not know grace. But I know grace, for I have been
forgiven by God. I have been given so much of God’s forgiveness that I
must become the channel through which others might know it as well. We
must forgive. If we don’t, we become smaller. We become drier. Every
wrong may become a tombstone for a dead relationship unless we forgive.
Without forgiveness we may soon be living in a grave yard, and like the
Gadarian among the tombs, forfeit real happiness. On the other hand, we
can see our hurt as a moral challenge of the heart to allow the glue of
grace to join the broken pieces of life and refuse to be less than God
has meant us to be. Do you want to know the power of God in your life?
Then forgive. You may say you can't. We can, we must, especially when we
can't. It is then we witness one of God's awesome powers at work.
God can. Forgiveness is the power of God.