Each person has a defining moment that centers their life. For some of us, the defining moment is a uniquely positive experience that somehow teaches us how to love completely, unconditionally, and unabashed, superseding any of the negative experiences that have occurred in our lives. However, for far too many people, their defining moment is shaped by a negative experience that encircles their life, changing the very core of who they are supposed to become. My friend Elliott, sums it up this way, “What you don’t understand is, there are lots of people carrying around a lot of pain. It’s so deep-rooted that many of them don’t even know they are carrying it.”
This is true. We’re all human. We all carry around some type of pain. Yet, haven’t we learned to separate the pain of childhood, adolescence, and interpersonal relationships from the routines of our daily lives? We must have; because, for the most part, we really have no choice if we are to walk through this life with some degree of maturity. But, what about the rest of us? Are other people destined to walk on eggshells simply because we enter a room?
At some point the pain we internalized as children, and as adults, must be released if we are to become functioning members of society; and, at best, functioning Christians. We have no choice but to forgive those who have harmed us with what we have come to believe is irrevocable pain. If we do not, we harm ourselves by carrying the equivalent of a 10-ton weight firmly secured around our necks, defining the very act of how we raise our heads to greet the world. As always, I am the last one to say that forgiveness is easy—it isn't. —Some people are better at it than others; because, they make a conscious effort to practice its art form. It really is something you have to practice.
—Something you must make up your mind to do for yourself! It’s true, sometimes the other person benefits from your forgiveness, but its importance is primarily for you.
Wasn’t this the importance of one of Jesus’ principles when He presented the parable of the king who forgave his servant 10,000 talents; yet, the servant would not forgive his fellow servant one hundred pence? On the surface, the story seems almost comical; it does not appear to make any sense at all. Who, in their right mind, would ask for forgiveness for owing so much and not forgive something so minuscule? Most of us would be so happy that our debt is forgiven, we would instantly become Oprah, “You get a car, you get a car, you get a car; everybody gets a car!”
Maybe we need to look at this in reverse. If we have trouble forgiving someone else, maybe we should ask God not to forgive us for the acts committed against Him; because, we cannot forgive the atrocities enacted against us.
Fortunately, the defining moment and key marker for all Christians is our baptism; it is where we gain the ability to release our sins onto Jesus Christ, accepting His forgiveness and receiving His blessing. Let’s not make the inability to forgive others the defining marker for our eternal life—much less our current lives. L.
Study Reference: Matthew 18:23-35
From; "Redefining The Art of Forgiveness." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions for Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell
photo; Bigger Pockets