On a mental health crisis line many years ago, I was listening
to a woman who’s brother had been killed. She knew who the murderer was; he’d
gotten away with it; and this woman was furious. In fact, she, too, was
considering murder. She knew where this man had fled to, and was talking about
going after him.
She’d called because she couldn’t sleep at 2 am that morning and wanted someone to listen. I
held the receiver away from my ear, saying, yes, I understood why she was
angry…I’d be angry, too…and other understanding phrases.
After half an hour of listening to her increasing rage, I
said, “Maybe you might want to think about forgiving this guy.”
“Forgive? I’ll never forgive!”
I’ll never forget the anguish, rage, and sorrow of her cry.
Forgiveness of sin with life-changing consequences is the hardest decision I
know. And that is exactly what it is. A decision.
If we wait until we feel like
forgiving, we will wait forever.
We can say, “I forgive my father for his emotional
distance.” “I forgive my sister for her self-absorption.” “I forgive my
neighbor for his raucous, late parties.” The emotional battle is yet to be
fought, but the spiritual battle is done when we choose to forgive. God takes
us at our word and strikes out our sin of unforgiveness. If that woman did not
find the power to forgive, she, herself, is still paying the price for her rage.
Jesus, only you give
the power to forgive. We need your enabling to release the people who have hurt