A man who was telling his friend about an argument he’d had with his wife commented, “Oh, how I hate it! Every time we have an argument; she gets historical!” The friend responded, “You mean hysterical!” “NO,” he insisted, “I mean historical! Every time we argue she drags up everything from my past and holds it against me!”
Forgiveness is God’s invention. Life is filled with conflict, pain, injury, and insults, but forgiveness erases the board and gives us peace and healing. God is pretty smart. He knew that humans needed this medicine. It is true: forgiveness breaks down walls, turns enemies into friends, and causes pain to transition into amazing joy.
Forgiveness has abundant power. It can restore all that we have lost. Where does forgiveness begin? In our heart! Then it moves sweetly and compassionately toward the one who hurt us. We release them from our vengeance file. Is there anyone you need to forgive? Is there anyone you need to seek forgiveness from?
This is how it works: when I forgive you I give up the right to hurt you back. When I forgive you I set myself free from the prison that I have placed myself in. When I forgive you, vengeance turns to victory and hate turns to health. That’s right! Health! “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16).
God knows that when we forgive those who hurt us and pray for God to have His will in their lives we are healed spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It is sad but true, myriads of people are chronically sick because they hold bitterness in their heart against someone. They feel like they deserve to feel this way. I believe many do not know that their affliction is due to the feelings they are harboring. God’s Word declares that when we release the hate, our chemistry returns to normal and we are healed.
Prospero, when finally given a chance to punish those who had removed him of his rightful place as king states, “Let us not burden our remembrance with a heaviness that’s gone” (William Shakespeare, The Tempest). Forgiveness starts when we can hear the person’s name without feeling anger. This does not mean letting go of justice, because a murderer must pay for his crime and a thief must make restitution. Justice is the pursuit of fairness, but hate is the desire to pay back. When we forgive we are able to see much more clearly. We do not ignore the hurt, but we are able to see beyond it. We discover the humanity of the one who hurt us. We see that all people are a product of fallibility, just like me.
Ann Lamott writes, “I cherish resentment and bitterness because I want to hurt the rat that caused my pain. But after resentment and bitterness have festered I find out that the rat is me, after all. Don’t forgive and your anger will become your burden. Don’t forgive and all the joy is choked out of you…it will kill you.” Choose forgiveness. For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.