Well, forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. It just means you don’t bear the anger, resentment and need for retaliation anymore. You give up your right to punish them. Don’t forget, that’s what God did for you. As we continue, we will see how a couple of incidents in history show us this power of forgiveness.
I grew up hearing of the Catholic/Protestant “war” in Ireland. Car bombings were frequent and death and destruction prevalent. It just seemed to be a dog chasing its tail over there…tit for tat, a life for a life. It seemed a never-ending battle of hatred, at least until this guy named George Wilson came on the scene.
In 1987 near Belfast, another Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb went off in a small town. This fellow Wilson and his daughter were buried in the resulting rubble. As his daughter lay dying, her words to him were, “Daddy, I love you very much.” After Mr. Wilson recovered from his injuries, he did something so powerful that it rocked the Catholic/Protestant struggle and led to peace between the parties. The simple act he did was he publicly forgave the IRA!
As he gave TV interviews, he said that because his daughter’s last words were about love, he didn’t want to defile that memory with hatred and bitterness. He said he would pray for his daughter’s killers and that God would forgive them. The resulting fame from this incident, allowed him to lead a crusade of reconciliation that even had the Irish Republic elect Wilson to their Senate! Hmmm-I think God knew what He was talking about when He told us to forgive one another!
The other example is Germany. I also grew up knowing of the existence of a divided Germany, East and West. Hatred, bitterness and separation ruled the country. But as the Berlin Wall fell and the country started to merge again as one, their first official act was not merely political but theological. They decided to vote on a statement made to the world that admitted their responsibility for the humiliation and murder of Jewish men, women and children. They admitted the errors committed during the period of their pursuit of National Socialism in World War II and asked the Jews of the world to forgive them! That statement was voted on by their government and passed unanimously!
Wow-an entire country asked forgiveness. And what was the unbelievable result… two groups of people who were once locked in a tremendous battle, both Germany and Israel, are now in peaceful co-existence.
So if you think your situation is impossible to restore or that your heart will never be free from some severe wrongdoing, think again. Forgiveness can have monumental results…if you let it! Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!