Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Vice of Unforgiveness

Recently I was reading a devotional on forgiveness and this thought struck me…nothing is more freeing than to release another person. It sounds almost contradictory, doesn’t it?

After all, if you choose to forgive someone you are “letting them off the hook” as you release them, aren’t you? They are the ones who are experiencing the freedom and well, sometimes it seems downright unfair.

But the reality is that we get the benefit of freedom more than the person we have released. Why is that? You have released them in the sense that you are no longer holding something over them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are off the hook. There may be consequences for what they have done. They may be facing judgment from God.

As good as that might sound, it isn’t supposed to make us feel better about forgiveness. It should cause us to grieve for them. Haven’t we been in that place where we faced the same, yet Jesus came into our hearts and offered us forgiveness?

The real freedom comes when we can live in peace. Harboring unforgiveness is not a pleasant thing. It often comes with anxiousness, guilt, shame, anger and a myriad of other emotions that can have a death grip on us.

It’s like you are in a vice and the deeper the unforgiveness goes, the longer it lasts, the tighter the grip on us. We are held in this vice and we can’t move. We are stuck. We feel uncomfortable, perhaps even in pain.

But as we begin to go through the process of forgiving, the vice begins to loosen. We begin to feel a release from the pressure. We are so thankful for how much better we feel that we decide we finally want to be free from the vice and so we forgive with everything within us.

It is at this point that we can experience complete freedom from the vice that once gripped us. Yes, that is what true freedom is, to release someone else. In turn, we are released.

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