JULY 18th is the birthday of Nelson Mandela – world renowned, Father of the Nation of South Africa! A man who showed no malice or bitterness despite years of imprisonment. A wonderful example to the world about the power of forgiveness.
A fine example to us but how do we behave those who mistreat, hurt or offend us? Are we also able to forgive?
Don’t we love to hang on to our grudges, enlarge the hurt and re-run the incident over and over again?
We allow ourselves to become embittered, angry, resentful as we fret over the offence!
Revenge and pay back dominate our thoughts: relationships and even our health can suffer.
Yet we have another option. The Bible tells us that if we want a sense of peace and wellbeing we have to release to God the people who have offended us, put aside resentment or anger and give up the right to hurt them in return.
Not easy! God knows how unwilling we are to forgive and has helped us with an amazing gift of love and grace. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth to die for all the bad things we do. Jesus, crucified on a cross, cried out when dying:- ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do’. (Luke 23:34)
What a relief! Forgiven and set free, from the punishment we really deserve from God.
The words of the Lord’s Prayer say ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ Forgive those who have hurt or offended us!
Research tells us that those who able to forgive are often healthier, happier and more relaxed than those who hold grudges.
God has shown what we need to do. We can choose to grant our offenders a free pardon and let go of feelings of resentment and vengeance - or remain stuck in anger or bitterness.
Who do you need to forgive? Ask God to help you and start the process – your life may change, become different, better!
Solihull Methodist Church