This has been a popular subject with me lately. Forgiveness. It is, arguably, the most difficult of all that our Lord calls us to do. Forgive those who sin against us as God forgives our sins. It sounds easy enough when we recite the Lord's prayer each week, but we don't really understand how difficult it is until we've been betrayed to such a point that we see forgiveness as impossible. Surely God doesn't expect us to forgive people who use all that they know about us in an attempt to destroy us.
If you think I'm writing this from first hand experience, you'd be correct. While the betrayal I speak of is not of a personal nature, more of business, it's still hurtful in that it goes far beyond honest competition. It's an outright attempt to destroy the lives of others. It gets very personal.
Now, I didn't write this to vent my frustration. I wrote it because I know that I will allow myself to be destroyed if I cannot forgive. Even more important than the survival of the company is the welfare of my soul and the greater achievement of a happy, loving family. After all, honestly, if the company is destroyed, I'll find other means of income. Perhaps even start another company. The employees there would struggle for a while, but they're good people and would find employment elsewhere. But if I were to allow this to fester in my heart, it would make me a bitter man for the rest of my life and not much use to God, my family, or myself.
Fortunately, I do have the power to forgive. And it is a power given by the Holy Spirit. Don't think it's much of a power? Look around at all the people on this earth who live their lives for vengeance. Entire nations are destroyed by it. Yet each of us can choose to let it destroy us or move on.
I choose to move on. In fact, I choose to pray for those who hate me. And I have. It may be the single most tangible evidence of Christ in our lives: the ability to forgive and push aside the anger that would otherwise eat at us like a cancer. When I allow myself to view the world through the eyes of those who want to be my enemy, I see that they too feel betrayed and hurt. Either of us can make the argument that we're the victim. But that accomplishes nothing.
Jesus knew that we could never experience the freedom He offered if we couldn't shake the chains of our anger. I forgive those who sin against me. And I pray that they can forgive me as well.