Motivational Minute: Freedom of Forgiveness
Several years ago, I accomplished a significant task in the workplace, a task for which I never received credit. In fact, the credit was overtly given to someone else who contributed absolutely nothing to the endeavor. I remember, at the time, feeling betrayed, belittled, and even somewhat bewildered that anyone would have the audacity to blatantly lie, through silence, and openly accept credit for something they never did. My initial reaction, of course, was to seek justice for the wrong committed. I talked to the powers that be and expressed my disappointment and disillusionment with a system that could allow something like that to happen. In response, there were superfluous efforts made in the pretense of correcting the error, but never a genuine heartfelt regret over the misinformation and blatant misstep. I carried around feelings of resentment for a while until it became obvious that such a response could harden the heart, create bitterness, and render me ineffective in other areas of my life.
There was only one resolution for this wrongdoing and that resolution had to come from me. Matthew 18:21-22 reads, “…Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” God places no limit on our forgiveness of others and even requires us to do it time and time again until we get it right. He sees the human heart and recognizes just how difficult it is to forgive, especially when the offending party refuses to see and speak the truth. A funny thing happens, though, when we adhere to God’s commands, which tell us to Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians4:32) and further challenges us to …Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Once we understand the power our unforgiving spirit gives over to the offender, we realize the necessity of genuine forgiveness, of a clean conscience. If we wish to reclaim power over our own lives, then we are compelled to do what we know is right – F.O.R.G.I.V.E… It helps to remember that forgiveness is for the forgiver, not the forgiven. A clean heart is a happy heart.