I Choose to Forgive.

Day 11.

The concept of forgiveness can send shivers through the twisted backbone of who we are. The act of forgiveness can heal us to stand strong.

This weekend at church we continued on our #DiscoverJESUS series on the tough sayings of Jesus.

Bill Hogg spoke on ‘Love your enemies’…

corrietenboom2Corrie Ten Boom (cred. wiki)

We heard this story.

‘….It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center 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 pain-blanched face.

He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.” 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.’ Powerful words from Corrie Ten Boom.

A more recent story from the Warren family whose son Matthew died this year:

The Warrens said they are grateful that California’s tough gun laws kept weapons out of Matthew’s hands for as long as they did. One of the hardest things they had to do was forgive the person who sold him the gun, Rick said, “because I didn’t want to forgive him.”

“He preyed on a desperate person,” Kay said of the online gun dealer.

Rick said he has to forgive the dealer, not for the dealer’s sake, but for his own.

“I forgive, first, because I’ve been forgiven by God. Second, unforgiveness makes me miserable. And third, I’m going to need more forgiveness in the future.”

“I don’t want to be tied emotionally to that person for the rest of my life,” Kay said.

My personal experience is acknowledging that the enemy is often my own heart, confronting my own gnarled thinking. Often blaming others yet failing to see it starts with me. Maybe we should start with another tough saying ‘Love yourself’.

IMG_3524icbymc

Does forgiveness mean we don’t care about justice? Does forgiveness mean there is no consequence for wrong? No. We leave justice and vengeance in God’s hands. Our job is to break cycles of hate, to be people of embrace, forgiving as God, In Christ, forgave us.

It starts with me.

You.

IMG_2994icbymc

Take a moment to read this poem by my friend Gerard Kelly from his book Spoken Worship.

I Choose to Forgive.

Though the cuffs of my jeans are muddied

from the dirt you have dragged me through,

I choose to forgive.

Though the nails of my fingers are bloodied

from the fighting you’ve forced me to do,

I choose to forgive.

Though no book or belief I have studied

can make sense of the path you pursue,

I choose to forgive.

Though the walls of heart are broken,

and the centre of my self is black-bruised,

by the lash of the lies that you’ve spoken,

and the wounds of the words that you’ve used,

though I huddle, a tear-trembling tragedy

stripped of the power to trust,

blocked off from all who might help me

by the guilt that came wrapped with your lust,

I choose to forgive.

And this act alone

breaks the cycle,

This act alone

rights the wrong,

This act alone

ends the evil,

This act alone

makes me strong,

Heals blind hatred with soft sight,

kicks the darkness into light.

I choose to forgive.

See you tomorrow,

Love, Michelle xo

 

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “I Choose to Forgive.

  1. I keep appearing as “anonymous” don’t know why! How amazing that James quoted Corrie Ten Boom and this same passage yesterday at Chawn. What an amazing lady of bravery and grace. What we can all learn from her today; What life lessons our young people can learn from her. Oh for more role models like her to be in the public domain. Thanks ‘Shell xx

  2. Initially, the choice to forgive comes without feeling , but simply knowing and doing what is right. My experience has been , only after that decision has been made, can we begin to love that person.

  3. I love this blog Shell….how wonderful it was to read that over there in Kelowna you heard the same message as we did here in the UK!!…….Corrie Ten Boom……what an amazing lady……forgiveness personified…….showing me once again that there is no distance in the spirit!!……..it makes Canada seem so much closer!!
    Also Rick and Kay Warren……their story of forgiveness is amazing…..beyond amazing!!
    As for me……my thoughts on forgiveness……I choose the same words as you……I choose to forgive…..in that forgiveness I find freedom…..real freedom…..PTL man!!! Xxxxxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s