Have you ever wondered how on earth people can do some of the things they do?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about bad things, I am talking about good things, for example; how can someone forgive someone who hurt them, badly hurt them?
What I mean is; take the life of one of their loved ones, how they can sit in a courtroom, or run into them on the street, and be able to reach out to them in forgiveness, or how a woman can run into the very man who helped torture her and her sister for years, and still reach out her hand in kindness, forgiveness even? Love our enemies? Forgive the people who spitefully hurt us? It seems almost impossible and I guess some would think it impossible…
Corrie ten Boom was a holocaust survivor, who wrote a book about her years in several Nazi prison camps called “The Hiding Place“, where she lost most of her whole family. She says it perfectly, when she said…
“It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former SS man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing centre at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s painblanched face. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message Fräulein”, he said “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your Forgiveness. As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.” (taken from “The Hiding Place)
See, it is not us, not at all….if it were just up to us, nobody would receive forgiveness, for anything. Even if it was the most simple deed done against us, something as small as skipping line…..they would not receive forgiveness from us, we would feel ill toward them forever for skipping in front of us….”for how dare they?”
It is God who gives us the forgiveness to forgive others. It is God who gives us the desire to want to forgive others. And it is God who gives us the love itself.
It says in the Bible many different times that we are to love others and forgive our enemies, sounds hard to do right? I guess it can be if you don’t have Jesus in your life, BUT when you do have Jesus in your life, IT CAN BE DONE!!!!
And, not only can it be done, it can be done joyfully, lovingly, happily, and un-regretfully!!!! And, OH the peace that comes afterward. It is how He heals the world…….After all, Jesus died for EVERYONE, His forgiveness is for EVERYONE who asks for it…..how on earth can we not do the same? =)