• James Shepherd

The impact of forgiveness


Forgiveness is powerful because it is rooted in God's infinite love. This love of God has the only power over us. And because God - and nothing and nobody else truly has power over us - there really is no need to harbor resentment toward anyone.


A couple of weeks ago, I finally bit the bullet and bought a washer and dryer. They were used, and the man I purchased them from gave me a 30-day guarantee. Right away the dryer had strange knocking sounds. I contacted the seller and said I wanted to return it under the guarantee. He balked. After several texts, he told me he couldn't take the dryer back. He gave me a sad story about a change in his current situation that wouldn't allow him to do this. In hindsight, I wish that I had been more sympathetic from the get-go. But I only said that it wasn't a very good guarantee if I couldn't return the dryer. He replied that he was sorry, but that he just couldn't do it.


That same day, I found another dryer online - a much newer one at a very reasonable price and purchased it. However, I'm sorry to say that at this point I hadn't really forgiven the other man who sold me the noisy dryer. (Hopefully, my forgiveness will come more quickly next time.) However, it then quite suddenly came to me that I could release this man from his obligations. So, I texted the man again and told him that I had bought another dryer and everything was good on my end. I also said that I was sorry for what he was going through and hoped his situation would get better. From his response, he seemed genuinely touched by this.


Now, I don't know for sure what was going on with this man - if he was just playing around with me or not. But what I do know is how I felt after I had forgiven him. Once I let go of my grudge and was able to forgive, it was like a small cloud lifted - a cloud that I hadn't realized was even there. I was then able to feel truly concerned for him as well.


I believe this is a way that God, infinite Love, directs us in our lives. It didn't come to me at the moment that I needed to forgive that man. It just came naturally to my thought to contact him. And then later it came to me that this is what forgiveness is.


The Bible has many examples of forgiveness - from people in much more dire circumstances than a poorly working dryer! When Jesus is being questioned by Pilate to determine whether or not he will be crucified, Jesus refuses to answer Pilate's questions. The gospel of John describes what happens next: “Why don’t you talk to me?" Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above...”(John 19:10,11 NLT)


Jesus saw so clearly that God, Spirit, Life - not some man, human law, or government - was the only power in his life, and that he was unafraid of anything that Pilate could do to him. This also allowed Jesus to forgive his crucifiers as well. While hanging on the cross, Jesus said, "Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34 NLT).


As we submit to the fact that God has the only power over us, this brings us naturally to the place of forgiveness. This brings progress, healing, and happiness to our lives, and quite possibly to the lives of others.




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