The Lord has declared in words of revelation: How much we need application of this God-given principle and its companion principle, repentance! We see the need for it in the homes of the people, where tiny molehills of misunderstanding are fanned into mountains of argument. We see it among neighbors, where insignificant differences lead to undying bitterness. We see it in business associates who quarrel and refuse to compromise and forgive when, in most instances, if there were a willingness to sit down together and speak quietly one to another, the matter could be resolved to the blessing of all.
Rather, they spend their days nurturing grudges and planning retribution.
I have seen that in our time among some of those who have vindictively pursued their nurtured grudges. Even among some of those who win their contests there appears to be little peace of mind, and while they may have gained dollars, they have lost something more precious. Guy de Maupassant, the French writer, tells the story of a peasant named Hauchecome who came on market day to the village. While walking through the public square, his eye caught sight of a piece of string lying on the cobblestones.
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He picked it up and put it in his pocket. His actions were observed by the village harness maker, with whom he had previously had a dispute. Later in the day the loss of a purse was reported. Hauchecome was arrested on the accusation of the harness maker. He was taken before the mayor, to whom he protested his innocence, showing the piece of string that he had picked up.
But he was not believed and was laughed at.
The next day the purse was found, and Hauchecome was absolved of any wrongdoing. But, resentful of the indignity he had suffered because of a false accusation, he became embittered and would not let the matter die. Unwilling to forgive and forget, he thought and talked of little else.
He neglected his farm. Everywhere he went, everyone he met had to be told of the injustice. By day and by night he brooded over it. Obsessed with his grievance, he became desperately ill and died. With variations of characters and circumstances, that story could be repeated many times in our own day.
“Of You It Is Required to Forgive”
How difficult it is for any of us to forgive those who have injured us. We are all prone to brood on the evil done us. That brooding becomes as a gnawing and destructive canker. Is there a virtue more in need of application in our time than the virtue of forgiving and forgetting?
There are those who would look upon this as a sign of weakness. There is no peace in the nursing of a grudge. Smith presided over the Church at a time of great bitterness toward our people.
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He was the target of vile accusations, of a veritable drumbeat of criticism by editorial writers even in his own community. He was lampooned, cartooned, and ridiculed. Listen to his response to those who made sport of demeaning him: Give them the liberty of speech they want. Let them tell their own story, and write their own doom. And then, with an outreaching spirit of forgiving and forgetting, he went ahead with the great and positive work of leading the Church forward to new growth and remarkable accomplishments.
Will God forgive me? Is my sin unforgivable? The unforgivable sin.
At the time of his death, many of those who had ridiculed him wrote tributes of praise concerning him. I recall listening at length to a couple who sat across the desk from me. There was bitterness between them. I know that at one time their love was deep and true. But each had developed a habit of speaking of the faults of the other. While the positive outcome of forgiving someone is great, there are serious consequences for those who refuse to forgive. In fact, choosing not to forgive can drastically and severely affect nearly every area of your life. By holding onto that desire to get even, you continually drink the toxic poison of unforgiveness, hoping to get back at the person who hurt you.
I have heard it said that holding onto unforgiveness is like continually drinking rat poison, hoping the rat will die. By holding onto the desire to get even, you continually drink the toxic poison of unforgiveness, hoping to get back at the person who hurt you. Unforgiveness is like a boomerang—you can throw it at the person who has hurt you, but it eventually comes back and hits you.
Prideful people set themselves up as a higher judge than God Himself, who is continually willing and waiting to forgive. Surely none of us would ever want any of these negative qualities to define who we are. But sadly, many people let these crippling characteristics consume their lives, simply because of pride…the root of unforgiveness.
Prideful people set themselves up as even a higher judge than God Himself, who is continually willing and waiting to forgive. Jasmine commented how forgiveness is found when you set yourself free of bitterness: It helps you a lot!
It especially helps YOU! So how do you go about actually forgiving someone? It might end up being the most important blog you will ever read.