My father's mother died when I was very young and I have no distinct memories of her. When my father's father died, I was given a bracelet that had been my grandmother's. While this bracelet, being made of gold and pearls, did have monetary value, the greater value to me was that it had belonged to my grandmother. While I was in college, we had "College Days" a time for high school students considering our college to come and visit. One day during College Days my roommate and I were expecting to have guests come and stay with us. I came into our room during a free time and found sleeping bags and other luggage in our room. Our guests had arrived. When I came back later, all sign of them was gone and I never did meet them or know what happened to them. A few days later I realized that my grandmother's bracelet was missing, never to be found again. I believed that it had either fallen into our guest's belongings during their brief visit, or that it had deliberately been taken. This made me sad then and now - sad for the loss of the connection to my grandmother, sad that one Christian would do this to another.
While I was at another college, I roomed alone for a semester. Because I had extra space, I was able to hang my necklaces on a rack where I could grab them easily. Unfortunately others could grab them easily, and sometimes did. One girl in particular liked to enter my room when I was away and "borrow" my necklaces. Unfortunately she borrowed one gold cross necklace that had been given to me by a friend and never returned it.
When these two incidents came to mind, I found myself feeling resentful because of these two injustices. Some one had stolen from me and I had no way to track down either thief, recover my property, or see justice come. Nearly 25 years have passed since these offenses took place, yet still I sometimes have to work through the emotions again the sadness of loss and the anger of injustice.
People offend us. In my case and in the grand scheme of things, these offenses are relatively small. Sometimes the offense is large. How do we respond? We can hang onto offenses, hold grudges, allow resentment, even hatred to grow or we can choose to forgive.
Forgiveness frees us from being bound by hatred, resentment, revenge, and grudges -- all things which can eat away at our souls. Forgiveness is not easy many times, but it is worth it when we value the quality of our souls and the quality of the life we will live. Jesus told many parables and taught several times on forgiveness. The Lover of our Souls knows the value of forgiveness and desires for us to live in freedom and health.
Are there offenses that come to your mind now and again . . .
or that linger like a perpetual cloud over your life?
Will you let them go? Will you choose to forgive?