Forgiving: Take the Risk, Find the Joy – Aren’t You Angry?
Key Bible Verse: And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!” – Proverbs 24:29
Dig Deeper: Ephesians 4: 31-32
The university class I was teaching had just finished reading some fascinating and troubling material on the impact of sustained violence on children in various parts of the world.
“They didn’t write about Northern Ireland,” complained Roz in her thick Belfast brogue. “There’s three of us from Ireland in this class. We grew up with violence all around us.”
“My father was killed by an IRA bomb when I was 6,” another young woman said abruptly. The class was silent, and I was caught off guard.
“Aren’t you angry, Cathy?” I asked her, wondering how a young woman whose father was brutally murdered could not be.
“No,” she said without an edge to her voice. “I was raised in a home by a mother who taught me to forgive, so the seeds of anger and bitterness never had a chance to grow. My mother modeled forgiveness for all us children.”
She had no hint of repressed bitterness in her voice. Rather, she had chosen to forgive, which obviously had made a profound difference for her. That choice had separated her from others her own age—others who had chosen to hold on to their anger, allowing it to fester into suppressed rage. [continued tomorrow]
—Bruce Main in Spotting the Sacred
My Response: How can I tell if I or someone I know has truly forgiven or is simply living with “repressed bitterness”?
Adapted from Spotting the Sacred (Baker, 2006)
Prayer for the Week: Heavenly Father, thank you for being a loving God who daily extends grace and mercy! Forgive me for those times I refuse to let go of anger and bitterness. Give me the grace and mercy needed to forgive those who’ve wronged me.