Tag: resentment

Forgiveness is not a slogan

PREPARATION

She came in complaining about my sermons always being about forgiveness and grace. According to her, I needed to come down harder on the sinners and in her words, ”nail them with guilt.”

After her rant, I asked, “So, when did forgiveness and grace become more than slogan concepts for you?”

“Ron, there are some things you can’t turn loose of, things that don’t deserve grace, or forgiveness. That’s just the way it is. I know that’s the way it was in my family.”

The pain in her words revealed a heart trapped in resentment and hardened by bitterness, “No, forgiveness is not an option. I was hurt too much.”

She had her religious in a box and all the right scriptures worked into rules, but her spiritual life was empty and powerless. Lack of forgiveness and grace had turned her into a friendless critic.

She wanted everyone else to be as miserable as she was.

A year later she and her husband announced they were leaving the church, in search of more biblical preaching.

On the other side of her story is Reginald Denny; remember him?

Years ago Reginald Denny drove his truck into the riots of South Central Los Angeles and the video cameras captured every detail of two men mashing his truck window with a brick, hauling him from the cab and beating him with a broken bottle and kicking him until the side of this face was caved in.

Then at the trial, in spite of protests from his own lawyers, Denny walked over to the mothers of the two defendants, hugged them and told them he forgave them. The mothers responded with hugs and tears.

How could he do that? One commentator stated, “Well you know, Denny did suffer some brain damage.”

At times, forgiveness doesn’t make sense; it seems like nothing is more important than punishing the offender, hanging onto the grudge for life. Truth is, hanging onto the grudge punishes us more than the offender. It gives the offender power over our life, for the rest of our days.

And, sometimes “turning loose” is nothing but a slogan, just religious words without confirmation in life. However, when forgiveness is genuine, it’s a miracle. God shows up; Grace is experienced.

Truths that kickstart forgiveness:
1. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you condone what was done.
2. Forgiveness doesn’t depend on the other person’s apology. Forgiveness is the refusal to let that person live in my head regardless. I release the past. My choice, period!
3. Forgiveness is also blessing to you. When you forgive God gives you relief and release from hurt and resentment and bitterness. The root of bitterness is uprooted by God. (Hebrews 12:15).

Remember, He has pointed the way. He first forgave us.

It’s a life choice, Grace or Grudge (Ephesians 4:32).

INSPIRATION

It was 1990 when Robert Knighton escaped from a Missouri halfway house and went on a three state crime spree including a short stop at the Oklahoma farmhouse of Richard and Virginia Denney. Richard offered directions, but Knighton overpowered the couple, killed them, and stole a total of $17.

Sue got the call from her brother. Her Mother and Daddy had been found murdered in their own house and she was numbed by it all. They were old and poor, why would someone do this?

In the courtroom, Sue was confused about how she should feel. The room was filled with hate and they expected her to feel the same way… “But it didn’t feel good,” she said.

On the last day of the trial, Sue asked God to help her. And He did. She woke up realizing she had a choice, she could hate Knighton like the rest, or forgive him. “I chose to forgive; it was a message from God.”

While the jury was out for deliberation, Sue visited Knighton in the holding cell. For a while he refused to look at her. Then he said, “Why would anyone want to talk to me after what I have done?” Sue replied, “I don’t know what to say to you. But I want you to know that I don’t hate you. My grandmother always taught me not to use the word hate. She taught me that we are here to love one another. If you are guilty, I forgive you.”

People thought that Sue had lost her mind. Some refused to talk to her and her family didn’t understand how she could turn against them.

Up until Knighton’s death Sue continued to write him and encourage him. Then on the night of his execution, in a brief, almost inaudible final statement, Knighton thanked his attorneys, said he was sorry for what he had done, and to Sue he said, “I’ll see you again someday. God bless you.” She replied with a thumbs-up as the execution began.

Sue says, “There is no way to heal and get over the trauma without forgiveness.”

MOTIVATION

Are you still holding grudges? If so, your faith is trapped and limited.

Is there a hidden, dusty corner of your heart that still harbors resentments and bitterness? Do you collect the painful moments and store them in the dark recesses, or do you release them and forgive. It’s your choice.

Question: What is it that keeps us from forgiving people, even the people closest too us?

Please share your forgiveness stories with me. The stories of forgiveness are some of the most inspirational and miraculous stories ever told. They force us to unwrap the gift of grace. So, Grace or grudge? Email Ron.

Contact Ron at 817.239.9229 or use the following form.

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February 20, 2012 | 0 Comments More