Last night we watched a wonderful story on forgiveness. It was on Oprah’s new program, “Where are they now”. Many years ago a brutally raped woman accused and put the wrong man in prison for this crime, due to a mistake on her part. He had to be in prison for eleven years.
The story was unreal. Can you even imagine being falsely accused by someone because you happen to look like the real criminal? It seems horrific. And yet this story has a powerful ending. The man was released when DNA tests proved he was not guilty. When the women found out her mistake she set about to rectify it. She asked this man face to face if he could ever find it in his power to forgive her. What he said to her next was so wonderful. He told her, “I forgave you years ago – I had to let go of the poison of hate in my body so I could continue to live”.
As I watched the two of them who appeared on the Oprah show many years ago telling their story, and then an update to right now – their story did not end there. They are close friends involved in each others lives today. Their easy give and take is so genuine. Truly love and forgiveness of even the most unspeakable things that people do to us CAN win out every time. But that decision is up to us.
I have heard of people who were able to forgive their children or spouses murderers. Stories of grace and God-given mercy. It has to be God – in ourselves we are just not equipped to handle the emotions on our own. We want revenge and for someone to pay. But mercy says no.
I think about what I deserve. It is death. It is wrath. And I need to be reminded that if it were not for the grace of God I would be lost. Because of that undeserved and unearned favor from God – and what he did to save me – I am free. Freed by love. Freed by something I could never repay. Because of that example of total reckless abandon and outpouring – I can love and forgive others. Oh it doesn’t come naturally to me. In fact I don’t want to even talk to anyone who has hurt me – let alone invite them back into my life and live as if nothing has happened. It is against my natural tendencies. But because of God’s great love for me, I can take baby steps toward understanding this incredible kind of love. I can take baby steps in showing grace – and in showing mercy.
I have a few people like this in my world. Where it is an act of my will to just let it go.
I know that God will take care of them in the end. But it is hard to
wait for that day that seems so very far away. Where is the justice??? I don’t want to show mercy and grace. I want them to pay and know how they have hurt me. It is not a pretty picture.
When was the last time you had an encounter with the unlovely side of yourself? The side that turns away, runs from conflict and those that have deeply hurt you? Or the side of you that DEMANDS payment? When was the last time you had an opportunity to show grace? They didn’t deserve it. They never will. They deserved your wrath and exploding anger. But you were able to dig deeper and lean on God’s great arm of forgiveness and understanding. And instead of making them pay – you were able to let it go. You found the strength to say, ‘mercy says no’.
My prayer for all of us today is that we can find that place to ‘let it go’. I pray that you will come to that place where you practice the forgiveness that frees and releases. I pray that you will continue to prosper even as your soul prospers, living happy, healthy and full of grace and mercy.
- Amazing Grace – God’s design for humanity (joshpeterrobinson.wordpress.com)
- Forgiveness as a Decision – Letting Go (reclaimingourchildren.typepad.com)
- “What is the grace of God?” (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- Blown away by love. (wordofawoman.com)
- Mercy (theyearofprayer.wordpress.com)
- Amazing Recycling Grace (ryanermacministries.wordpress.com)
- Forgiveness (mylovestorywithgod.wordpress.com)
- Forgive yoursel… (mdavis11.wordpress.com)
- Forgiveness- an Act of Loving Yourself and Others, Yep! (cantkeepasobergirldown.wordpress.com)
- Forgiveness (thevoiceofmary.wordpress.com)