On the radio program with Stephanie Riggs, I hope to talk about the toughest act of forgiveness I have ever had to face. What made that experience so important was that I learned something I have never seen in writing, although it is certainly implied in the Bible.
About twenty years ago, I was wronged so badly and so illegally that I could have sued my company and brought it down. Everyone says that at some point, but this was really true. The wounds are still there decades later.
As my anger and resulting depression grew, I quickly saw someone in the mirror I did not like, and I turned to prayer, intense, unending prayer, instead of revenge. And the gift I eventually received was this, whispered passionately by the Holy Spirit:
“Your company is made up of one percent really, really bad people and ninety-nine percent of really, really wonderful, needy children of mine. As my child, too, do you really want to ruin the lives of the ninety-nine as revenge on the one?”
Read Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:1-10 right now.
In my woundedness, I was thinking only of myself. Jesus reminds us in chilling ways that the one who has been forgiven the most is me – by God himself.
Without this realization, forgiveness can feel so wrong, so unfair. But in reality, it is the fairest thing in the world.
And one way to break through the hurt is to consider what failing to forgive can do to other innocent victims of collateral damage in the affairs of humanity.
God does not require us to forget – only to forgive. An easy way to practice this is to commit to doing no harm to others when we have been hurt.
In Part 3, we will look at how closely this parallels Jesus’s prayer for perfect unity.