Forgiveness is true freedom

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 6, 2012

By Harold Keller

Recently, the moderator of the men’s Bible sharing group chose forgiveness as the topic. I’ve attended these weekly meetings religiously since 1988, and forgiveness is the subject that is discussed more than any other.

The moderator referred to the scripture in Matthew 18, verses 18 and 19, when Peter asked, “Jesus, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” In other words, an infinite number of times…no limit.

When it was my time to share, I said that I was grateful for a loving and forgiving God who I know has forgiven me at least that many times. I then said, “Come to think of it, my wife also has forgiven me an unlimited amount of times.”

Being on the receiving end of forgiveness is a great feeling of being free. Have I always been as merciful as God and Jeanne were to forgive me as I am to forgive people who have offended me? I’ve had a struggle in that area on a few occasions.

I’ll never forget, as a Christian I held on to resentment toward someone who had offended one of my grandchildren. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t let go of my hatred, regardless of how much I prayed to forgive. I battled with that issue for a couple of years and was in bondage to my unwillingness to forgive.

One day, my daughter, Ronny, knowing of my problem, asked if I ever forgave that person. I told her that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find it in my heart to forgive. She said, “Daddy, if you’re going to allow that person to be responsible for you going to Hell, I feel sorry for you.” She then added, “I just pray that you won’t allow the spirit that you have to be passed down to your children and grandchildren.”

It was then that I was able to confront the person and asked for his forgiveness for me hating him. He didn’t realize that I had such a problem.

He forgave me and it was over. I was free to love and live – free to grow and mature. Truly free! That’s what forgiveness can do.

I’m reminded that the difficult journey to freedom invariably leads through the door of forgiveness. Forgiveness is sometimes called the ultimate class act.

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