We are all wounded in some way. Some in big ways. Some in small ways. Some by words. Some by action/inaction. Some on purpose. Some inadvertently. Some emotional. Some physical. Some psychological.
I recently read the story of Richard Moore of Northern Ireland. He was just 10 years old when he was coming home and a young British soldier shot him in the face with a rubber bullet. Moore was blinded from that moment. Throughout his life, as you can imagine, he struggled with anger, bitterness, rage, and revenge toward the British and particularly that soldier.
Thirty years after the incident, he knew he needed to put it behind him. He was able to find the British soldier who had shot him and scheduled a meeting. There, amid tears and regret, forgiveness was extended and received. Moore said, “After that, something peculiar and wonderful happened. Something inside me changed. I began to realize the gift of forgiveness I thought I was bestowing on the soldier was actually a gift from God to me. It didn’t matter if the soldier wanted or needed forgiveness; the gift freed me.
“All through my boyhood my mother had wanted the impossible for me-that I would be given back my sight.” He remembered waking up only to find his mother kneeling at his bedside praying for his eyesight to be restored. Moore goes on to say, “When I met the soldier and forgave him, I believe my mother’s prayers were answered. I was given a new vision, and my real wound, the one that needed healing more than my eyes, was healed.” The deeper wound, the real wound, have finally been healed.
I am not naive enough to believe that forgiveness means all is now well. Forgiving someone doesn’t erase the consequences someone must face if the legal system is involved. Forgiveness does mean that at the end of the day you surrender your personal right to get even. Much has been written here and on other blogs about forgiveness and the freedom it brings. The old adage of “I forgave and found out the prisoner I freed was me” is true. I can say unequivocally that the lack of forgiveness is quite possibly the Number 1 obstacle to our freedom and joy.
HOLD A GRUDGE…HURT YOURSELF.
Almost two years ago the church I pastor was hurt deeply by the actions of one person. We now have a chance to extend grace to this hurting person because that person is now hurting…a mother has died. I have preached on forgiveness off and on for several years and have “hit it hard” the past two. We will now see how effective the teaching has been.
Hurting people hurt people. Wounded people wound people. Forgiven people forgive people. What about you?