To start the New Year right you must let go of any old grudges that are weighing you down. Philip Yancey describes forgiveness as an unnatural act and says, “You don’t find dolphins forgiving sharks for eating their playmates. It’s a dog-eat-dog world…not a dog-forgive-dog world.” Grudges come naturally when you’ve been hurt, whereas forgiving requires God’s enabling grace. Jesus said, “If you do not forgive…your Father will not forgive your sin” (Mt 6:15 NIV). Humanly speaking, there’s not one single reason God should forgive your sins, yet the offenses He pardons you for every day far outweigh anything you’ll ever be asked to forgive others for. By forgiving, you change the whole dynamic. You open the door of a prison where you are both prisoner and jailer, setting yourself and the other person free. Grudges not only isolate you from people who were once friends, they actually shorten your life by producing deadly enzymes that contribute to a host of physical ailments. One man told his counselor, “I wish my brother could come to my wedding, but we haven’t spoken in years.” The counselor asked, “How come?” Pausing, the man replied, “It sounds ridiculous now, but I don’t even remember.” Drifting apart is the natural result of an unforgiving spirit; forgiveness reverses the trend by restoring and healing broken relationships. It’s a medical fact that forgiveness adds years to your life. As a rule, when you talk to people who’ve passed the eighty-year mark you find they are at peace with themselves—because they’ve learned to forgive and let go.
Published on Saturday, December 31, 2011 @ 10:54 AM CDT