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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Forgiveness, Even From Bitterness

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”
— Corrie ten Boom (1892–1983)
SOME PEOPLE have forgiveness stories that shame us into recognising how blessed our lives have been. Those who experienced the horror of the Holocaust death camps, for instance. Sure, we have all tasted oppression – even if secondhand. But, to have experienced something of horror – not mere betrayal – and to have chosen forgiveness of the perpetrator of that horror, has surely made a key item of forgiveness.
We have good examples of forgiveness against the flow of the heart – when, as Corrie ten Boom said, people forgave even with cold hearts if they chose to.
It’s commended to us, therefore, to lie open to the Spirit, to the flow of God’s will, which eternally says, forgive!
How can we read our Bibles and get anything else from it than forgive?
It defies rationality to go on not forgiving, when we are called to forgive even our enemies. It is a command: love one another. Yet, somehow there are Christians who choose to look away from these vital commands so as to play into the hands of the evil one. These are hard words for the person who will not (with their will) forgive their transgressor. But they hijack only themselves, limiting whatever effectiveness they could have for the Kingdom of God.
If you are reading this, and you bear any sorrow or bitterness in your heart against a brother or sister, the very next thought has to be: forgive!
Where we hold back upon the necessary work of release we hold only ourselves back. We allow fear more reign than it ought to ever have. We create the selfsame blockage that the devil has chosen for us; we do not cooperate with God. Perhaps worst of all, we sit under the Judgment, pending over our lives: we must settle this before we die, for then we are judged, and if we think God will deal with us compassionately for so openly disobeying his Word we are sorely mistaken. No excuse will cut it in the Presence of holiness.
Withholding forgiveness is a poison to the withholder. It will take a person who should be blessed and it will limit that blessing.
Withhold forgiveness and work for the devil,
Withhold forgiveness and in your mind he’ll revel.
But with the will, if you’ll forgive,
God will revive you and then you’ll live!
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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