A friend told me today that her mother and several sisters have been reconciled after years of ill-feeling.

Her mother feels like a new woman.

This follows a discussion our Bible study group had this week about forgiveness and how important it is for the person who has been hurt.  We talked about how clinging to bitterness can poison our lives.

Jesus and the apostle Paul strongly urged the followers of Christ to forgive one another as God forgave them.  Jesus wanted us to be one just as Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit are one.  You can’t be one and fight each other at the same time.

But we are human and we allow our feelings to dominate us rather than the Holy Spirit within us.

I have let my feelings dominate me during my life and sometimes I have harboured resentment against others.

A few years ago, several of us were studying healing prayer in the Bible and we looked at forgiveness as a factor in emotional and physical healing.  That night, we decided to think of some people who have hurt us and we had never forgiven.  We wrote down our forgiveness on pieces of paper and shredded them as a symbol that we would no longer hold those incidents against them.

One person I forgave that night was someone who had hurt me in high school in an incident which left an emotional scar.  It was good to put that case behind me.

Such steps can free us emotionally from the prison of bitterness which leaves us angry and often depressed.

Peter Horrobin says in his book The Most Powerful Prayer on Earth that the ultimate step in forgiveness is Jesus’ prayer for the men who nailed him to the cross:  “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.”

When you have given up even wishing God to avenge your hurt, you have truly forgiven the other person.

It is tragic when believers refuse to forgive one another.

When we don’t love each other, what are we saying to the world?


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