Yesterday we talked about what the Bible says about how we are to forgive – as God has forgiven us. Today I want to share a little about what forgiveness does for us. It’s not an easy thing to do. I know this all too well. I have had to do what seems to be more than my fair share of forgiving. That also means that I have had a lot of burdens lifted. And that means that I no longer have to carry the weight of those burdens around on my back anymore.
Let’s use the verse from yesterday in Colossians to begin our discussion today. Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Let’s take a close look at the word forgive in that verse. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The greek word for forgive is aphiemi. It has the most amazing definition. It means “to let go from one’s power, possession, to let go free, let escape.” Basically what that means is when we forgive someone we are cutting them loose. If we are cutting them loose then that implies that they have been attached to something. In this case, that someone has been attached to YOU. For example, years ago I had a group of friends hurt me to my core. For a long time after the offense I carried around a weight – essentially all of those friends – strapped to my back. When I had worked through the pain that their actions caused and was ready to forgive them my prayer “I forgive” was the knife needed to cut the ropes binding them to me. Did my forgiveness make what they did ok? Absolutely not! They were all wrong in what they did – nothing would change that. But by my being obedient to scripture I took back control of my life and loosed them from my back and my heart. Until I uttered those words they were still in control. They were still hurting me every single day. Did I want to forgive them? Not particularly. I felt like if I forgave them then that would make what they did ok. In actuality forgiveness goes much deeper than that. Did I want them to understand how they hurt me? Yes! By forgiving them I not only set myself free from the burden of the event but I also set myself free from the burden of bitterness. Once bitterness takes root it is like a weed – no matter how much you pull that stubborn weed it just never seems to go away. Sometimes you just have to pull out the weed killer and poison that stubborn thing.
Well, forgiveness is kind of like the weed killer. It kills the weeds of bitterness, anger and hurt – not just at the surface – but all the way down to the bottom of the root. You know what happens then? The luscious green grass and brilliantly blooming flowers are given room to burst forth from the soil. It’s the same way with forgiveness. When you say “I forgive” you are choking out that root and allowing beauty to burst forth from you once again.
Don’t let the weed of bitterness choke out the beauty you are meant to be. Take out your scissors of forgiveness and cut those ropes. Take out the weed killer and poison that weed. Set yourself free with those two little words “I forgive”. They may be small but they are mighty. Allow yourself to bloom straight, proud and strong.