Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for R

For the sake of my friend's privacy, I won't use her real name. I will substitute the letter R and not give any details that would tell a story that isn't mine to tell. R is leaving a legacy of forgiveness. Vile offenses have been done against her, yet she has forgiven the offender, and she lives a life a of peace and joy and freedom. When I asked her how--how could she forgive him??--she told me she was only able to forgive through the power of Christ, and because she knows she has been forgiven by our holy God. It wasn't easy. It took time. But the result has been life-changing. Having thought about legacies all month, I think people who are quick to forgive have had the greatest impact on me. It's not their talent, their looks, their personalities, their intellect, their giftings, or anything they were born with. Rather, forgiveness is something that is a learned act of the will. No one is born with a will to forgive. Granted, some people are not easily offended, and others are. But regardless, whatever one's tolerance for offense might be, everyone has to forgive many people many times in a day, a week, a year, a lifetime. Some of us have a real hard time forgiving. We need people like R in our lives to keep showing us how it's done. Sure, Jesus showed us ultimately at the cross how it's done, but I admit that I have said, "But He's God. Of course He could forgive. You can do anything when you're God. How about the ordinary human being like me?" How do I forgive? How do we free ourselves from bondage? By letting people off OUR hook. Not "THE" hook; I used to think that they would be off the hook if I forgave them, but she has reminded me that God will deal them. No one gets off His hook unless He releases them. He deals with everyone; vengeance is His. There was a time I wished people like R's offender (and a couple of mine) would rot in hell. Then I learned what the Bible says about hell, and I could no longer think that. Would I want to go to hell for MY sins? Have I committed murder in my heart through anger? Many, many, many times! Should I be sent to hell for a murderous heart? Absolutely! But have I been forgiven by Jesus and set free from that sin? Yes, indeed. But too often I still hold onto the hurts. One look at R and I think, "If she can forgive someone for _________, I can forgive them for this." What kind of love and strength is takes to let go of bitterness. I have told her once, but I must tell her again before it's too late. Her legacy of forgiveness speaks volumes to me. Mega volumes.


Danielle said...

Reminds me of a recent post by Ann Voskamp on forgiveness. The quote I loved: "If forgiveness isn’t central to our faith, is our faith really Christian?"

Forgiveness is the hardest thing to do, but makes Jesus most real.

Anonymous said...

You can't really be free yourself if you can't forgive.

Nel said...

Forgiveness can give you such an awesome feeling. Once I forgave my ex for his adultery I had peace again. Actually my hubby and I are friends with him and his wife(she is not who he left for). It makes it alot easier for our kid and grandkids.
Great post!
until next time...nel

Sharkbytes said...

Great post, and I'm glad to see the honesty that it does take time, even with God's help, to forgive major transgressions against us. It also may need to be renewed occasionally. When I found out a new-to-me piece of an old offense, I was really struggling. A friend said, "If you've really forgiven, then you've forgiven all of it, even the parts you did not know about." Can't beat that truth. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs in April. My alphabet is at

Susan Kane said...

Delores said it all. Amen.