To forgive or not to forgive is one of life's more challeging situations. I'm sure each of you has had many times when you had to choose between forgiving or not, just as I have. The decision to forgive is easier for me than it used to be, but there are still situations where I struggle with that decision. I've discovered when I'm confronted with a second-person offense, when someone I care about has been wronged, it is harder for me to reach that forgiveness decision than when it is only directed at me. I think its that "mother-bear syndrome" even when I'm not their mother!
Some time ago, I read the most dynamic definition of unforgiveness I had ever seen. The author, I regret I don't remember who it was, stated that unforgiveness is when: "We drink the poison expecting the other person to die!" What a perfect picture of such a vile thing as unforgiveness! That's a visual that has spurred me to forgive when my emotions didn't want me to. I hurt only myself when I choose to not forgive. Steve Saint wrote that "Hating someone and holding onto bitterness builds a prison around us. Forgiving others frees us." Forgiveness is first a choice and then an action. To forgive doesn't mean that person deserves forgiveness or that we forget his/her actions, it means we CHOOSE to forgive and then we do so! I choose to not die from poison I've ingested in a prison I've constructed! What a waste of our time, energy and position in Christ. The Bible states that if we don't forgive, we will not be forgiven and I need to be forgiven, hence I need to forgive because the price is too great if I don't! Our extraordinary God prepared an amazing way for our own undeserved forgiveness - Jesus the Christ! How can we do less?