“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it.”
“In the End we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
“Every man must decide whether to walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
On that note, I am going to quickly mention another “YES!” moment I had this weekend during my sermon marathon. Pastor Hodges said something to the effect that “Unforgiveness” is like setting yourself on fire and hoping that the other person dies from smoke inhalation.
Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as the snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them white as wool. IF YOU WILL ONLY OBEY ME…”
People, we have the wrong understanding of forgiveness. If we have been done wrong, we do NOT have to convince ourselves that it was no big deal. It might have been a HUGE deal. We don’t have to listen to people who say, “Get OVER it!”…or “Ahhh, forget about it.” We DO NOT have to seek a reconciliation. There are some things that will just never happen, and changing another person by our wish that they change is one of them. God can help another person to change…but it is not required for us to reconcile with a person who has hurt us. It IS required for us to reconcile that pain with God and to hand over that pain. We remain a HOSTAGE to the power of that other person who does not care about us if we WAIT on that person to say that they are sorry. They may never say that they are sorry. They may never be sorry. They may never even think about what they have done to cause us so much heart-ache and yet WE can’t let it go. I say to you, LET IT GO. There is not enough time to hold on to hurt. “For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness…” Julian Germain.
How many minutes will you be angry? Bitter? Hurt? Vengeful? How many seconds of happiness are you squandering?
Forgiveness is not forgetting what happened…but if we are unable to forgive others for the things that they have done then we are told that God will not forgive us. “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14. Could that be ANY clearer?
Last night I wrote an article about “I can’t do all things.” Well, no…I, Christy Elizabeth Webster Ethridge can not. But I don’t have to do it by myself. I have divine strength. All I have to do is remember that! All I have to do is call upon that strength.
So what are we to do? How are we to forgive…to release ourselves from this burden and bondage that we have taken on? It goes against everything that we as human beings naturally want to do. It goes against everything that the world tells us to do. This is the way. It is not complex…but it is the farthest thing from simple.
We must PRAY for them. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44
We must BLESS them. “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those that mistreat you.” Luke 6: 27-28
We must DO GOOD to them. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge: I will repay, “says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12: 17-21
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.
These are not my words. This is not my idea. I am just sharing with you a hard lesson that I heard and that I KNOW to be true. The FORGIVEN forgive. Do you want to carry your hate…be weighed down with the burden? or do you want to be free from that self-inflicted bondage? Let it go. Lay it down.
“We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace, We shall live in peace someday; Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, We shall live in peace some day.” (We Shall Overcome)
Your will be done, God, ON EARTH as it is in heaven. We can’t wait to begin to follow God’s advice when we get to heaven. We have to start now, so that we can live the blessed and abundant and FREE and peaceful life that he has in store for us. Take off the shackles that bind. Surrender. forgive.