Forgiving: Take the Risk, Find the Joy – God’s Gift
Key Bible Verse: Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19
Dig Deeper: Romans 12: 14-21
Sam (not his real name) sat in my counseling office one rainy morning, holding his head in his hands and sobbing uncontrollably. In the middle of his tears, he cried out, “But I just can’t forgive him for what he has done to me. I just can’t let him get away with that.”
It took a lot of persuading to convince Sam that his unforgiveness was never going to affect the person responsible for his pain—a guy who lived many miles away.
Sam spent more than half his life drinking the poison of unforgiveness, fully expecting to poison the one who’d brought him so much pain. But all he managed to accomplish was to make himself sick.
By allowing the one who caused his pain to rent space inside his head, Sam experienced daily torment for many years.
Sam was unwilling to forgive until he finally understood that forgiveness was God’s gift to him. He was the one who stood to benefit by forgiving the one who’d hurt him.
In his prayer that morning, Sam asked Jesus to make him willing to remove his hands from around his perpetrator’s throat. He made the decision to leave judgment and revenge in God’s hands.
The one who was set free in my office that morning was Sam, not the one responsible for Sam’s pain.
My Response: Why is it healthy to believe that God is the final judge and the final avenger?
Thought to Apply: There is no torment like the inner torment of an unforgiving spirit. —Chuck Swindoll (pastor, writer)
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.