This is not a light or thoughtless subject. All the power and merit of God’s love in the human soul must be engaged to deal with issues that have harmed and damaged us and our loved ones.
Yet, I write this message as a vehicle of forgiveness, reconciliation and love for those who have been hurt, victimized and burdened with the loss of their dearest treasures. It is hoped that they are restored and healed in a spiritual and emotional way; that their grief and pain become a gift of immeasurable worth.
They who have overcome the nights of sorrow, who courageously find their own clarity and peace, offer us a picture of life and grace that no darkness can quench. It is as if they have truly followed the voice of the spirit of the greatest of human love and forgiveness the universe has known…the Divine and Loving Christ. In this, there is hope and redemption handed out to the offender; if one can grasp God’s deep abounding love and far reaching expansive forgiveness and grace. The offender, who often cannot give back what he or she has taken, can let sincere repentance be the guiding light of personal change. This is what God truly affirms; a heart ignited with a compassion and understanding of its errors – a transforming of life’s redemptive energies positively directed toward the highest human goals.
For all of us, forgiveness releases talons; the harsh unyielding grip of hate, vindictiveness, resentment, and bitterness; the enemies of peace that constrict the loving heart. Whether we choose this path of forgiveness or not, is the personal decision that each of us must make by our own conviction and conscience.
Yet, I tell you this: To forgive is a key to the truth that will set one free!
My friend, whoever you are and wherever you are reading these words, know that forgiveness is a healing balm of immense value which can and will soothe and solace the unkind memories that constantly plague and haunt us. Even so, I don’t minimize or lessen anyone’s personal pain, struggle and ordeal. For I know in the human way of thinking, it is most often impossible to forgive and pardon someone who has damaged and affected our lives so senselessly. I have seen the personal anguish and distraught of those who have suffered severe loss. Never believe the lie that the offender cannot empathize, cannot weep and cannot agonize over his or her mistakes that have deeply and profoundly affected others.
There are those whose number I cannot tell you, who believe in the redemptive love and grace of God in Christ for us all. God who has breathed life into us all, sends also his healing and restoration to all of us.
I know there are voices contrary to this hope, but it takes courage and the knowledge of God’s mercy to forgive. It takes God’s love directing one’s heart, one’s spirit and one’s soul to do what is right. Yet, who do we listen to and who will influence us the most? What kinds of examples will we allow to speak to our heart? There have been mothers who have forgiven gang members, who have taken their children’s lives. One striking woman began to work with and nurture juvenile offenders. In sharing her story, her love and her forgiveness, she has helped juvenile offenders seek a better course for their life. Although losing one son, her forgiveness and heroism gained her many sons, redeemed by her commitment to love through grief and adversity.
I have personally witnessed rape and assault victims come into the prison environment, the hardened confines of convicted felons, and courageously and passionately share their experience and trauma. These gut-wrenching testimonies have often been the spark that transformed the moral conscience of abusive men who began taking personal responsibility to change and reshape the direction of their lives, which will prevent further victimization.
These are just a poignant few of the many personal testimonies of individuals who have chosen to forgive others for their offenses. In doing so, they have expanded their circle of influence to touch the lives of others for the greatest good. These are the Joseph and Christ models of our generation, who valiantly show us a higher redemptive picture of forgiveness.
It is my hope, that whoever reads this will ponder this issue deeply. Do not let unforgiveness seep into the marrow of your soul. Do not let the offenses of others embitter your spirit and drain your life of precious joy. To see your way to embrace God’s highest truth of forgiveness is to embrace your healing and walk in liberty from the clutches of hate and resentment.
It is no easy or small thing to forgive someone who has hurt us or our loved ones, yet to do so is often purifying and emotionally strengthening. I am hopeful we collectively and individually can choose the harmonies of forgiveness, so that darkness can have no victory and permanent sway in our lives.
It is not condemnation, hatred and bitterness that will reclaim and restore our lives. These are not the life-building, life-enhancing emotions that cultivate and bring out the best in our human character.
The opposers to this can believe as they choose. But God and personal witness of one’s soul knows inwardly, that forgiveness opens the door to the blessings of renewal, peace, reconciliation and transformation of every human being, who would grasp this wonderful healing gift of God’s and Christ’ divine love.
Written By: Thomas R. Payne, Jr.
Copyright © Transformational Victories. All Rights Reserved
(Revised September 2019)