Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Act of Forgiveness (Matthew 6:15) with a story from the life of Robert E. Lee after the Civil War and a quote from Max Lucado.

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:15
But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

STORY as shared by Michael Williams:
In his book. Lee: The Last Years, Charles Bracelen Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it." It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain, let bitterness take root and poison the rest of our life.
Too often we carry the burden of somebody else’s mistakes. Because of their lack of good judgment or of a word misspoken we become upset or angry. We carry that feeling and it can weigh us down. We have been injured. Our feelings have been hurt. And so, we wait for them to ask for us to forgive them. And we wait … and we wait … and we wait … all the while the negative has taken root in our sole and begins to grow. If not extracted and gotten rid of it will eat us alive by slowly changing our attitude towards others.

I believe that the true act of forgiveness begins with the individual injured in the exchange. To free ourselves from the shackles that bind us and keeps us from experiencing the fullness of God’s love and joy we should turn to the individual that caused the situation and extend forgiveness. Maybe it was something that was wrongly perceived on their part of our actions. Maybe it was a misreading of something that we had said or wrote. We can wait for them to ask for forgiveness, but the greater act of grace is to ask for their forgiveness even if we feel that we haven’t done anything wrong.

O Lord, you forgave us even before we asked for forgiveness. Help us to extend the same to others. 

QUOTE by Max Lucado:
Until you are able to call your enemy your friend, a jail door is closed and a prisoner is taken. But when you open the door and release your foe from your hatred, then the prisoner is released and that prisoner is you. 

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