Bitterness Brings Bondage; Forgiveness Finds Freedom

Forgiveness is a choice just as is choosing to continue on in resentment and anger. Satan would like to convince us that forgiveness is impossible in “our” situation because he knows the bondage that bitterness will bring to our soul. He is very good at making us think that, by choosing not to forgive, we are hurting the other person when in reality, we are only hurting ourselves. I have heard it put this way, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies”. Choosing bitterness is like choosing self-destruction. Proverbs 11:17 says, “The merciful man doeth good to his own soul, but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.” When we choose forgiveness, we are doing good to ourselves!

Just moments before His death, we read Christ’s words, “…Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” Luke 23:34  When we remember our Saviour’s example, we can be reminded that, no matter what the situation – no matter how deep the hurt – God promises that His grace will be sufficient. If our desire is to forgive, the Lord will supply the grace needed to do so.

In this imperfect world filled with imperfect people, no one is exempt from hurt. When faced with difficult and often very painful situations that have required forgiveness, aside from Christ’s example, the Lord has brought to my mind the example of Corrie ten Boom. Below is an excerpt from her book, “He Sets The Captive Free”.

Is Forgiveness Possible?

Do you know how it feels when your heart is full of hatred? We were working in an area where wrecked airplanes were piled together. We had to gather the many pieces and load them onto big trucks. It was terrible heavy work for us.

My sister Betsie was a very frail woman, and she could not lift much, but she did her utmost. Suddenly one of the guards noticed that Betsie was picking up only the little pieces, because the big pieces were too heavy for her.

Betsie said kindly to her, “Don’t give me more to do than I am trying to do already, because I am not strong enough to lift these heavy parts.”

The woman guard said, “You don’t decide what you do. I decide.” Suddenly the guard started to brutally beat Betsie. I have never been so enraged! The other prisoners held me back so I could not grab the guard.

When she had gone, I ran to Betsie, who had blood all over her face. She said, “No, don’t hate, Corrie. You must love and forgive.”

“I cannot! I am not able.”

If there is hate in your heart, you cannot forgive. I knew this, and I also knew what Jesus had said: “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26

After we were back in our barracks, I climbed out of the window and went for a little walk alone, and I talked with the Lord. I said, “Lord, I can not forgive that brutal woman. It is more difficult to forgive when people you love suffer than when you suffer yourself.” Then the Lord reminded me of a text. I had my little Bible hidden under my dress. I opened it and read:

“…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5

Suddenly I saw that what I was not able to do, the Lord, in me, was able to do. I said, “Oh, Lord, I thank You for Romans 5:5. I thank You, Jesus, that You brought into my heart God’s love through the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Father, that Your love in me is stronger than my hatred.”

At that moment, when I was able to forgive, my hatred disappeared. What a liberation! Forgiveness is the key which unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. What a liberation it is when you can forgive.

(from “He Sets the Captive Free” by Corrie ten Boom)

~ Rachel ~

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