Corrie Ten Boom, arrested and placed in Ravensbruck concentration camp for concealing Jews in their home once said, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” Oscar Wilde said, “Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.” I’m pretty sure that forgiving someone is not the best way to annoy them, but I get the point. From the cross Jesus said, “Father forgive them…” Were those words spoken as an act of His will in order to annoy His enemies? I do not know who first said it, but I remember reading a statement that went something like the following: forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. Now that seems like more of a daily reality to me. Truthfully, Jesus gave up His “right” as the Son of God to pour Himself out on the cross for our forgiveness.
Author Louis Smedes wrote that to forgive is to set a prisoner free only to discover that the prisoner was you. When we do not forgive we are actually crying out to God for our own retribution and yet there was a spoken condition for you and me when it came to our own forgiveness. In Matthew 6 Jesus said to forgive others and your Father will forgive you. Today, we are not throwing a stone, that’s an Old Testament concept, however; He is saying that there’s a condition with our own forgiveness – we must forgive those who wound us. Certainly easier said than done, but God will give us the grace to do so and even to humble ourselves and initiate the process. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col. 3:13)