The Rev. Tony Bohrer: The power of forgiveness — part 2
May 13, 2011
I chose forgiveness as a column topic again because I think there is liberty in forgiveness.
It's something that from a young age we have to learn or we will be miserable in this life.
I believe it is one of the most important lessons we have to learn, and at times it's the most difficult lesson to learn.
Matthew 6: 14-15 (NLT): If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Have you ever wished you could rewind the last seven years, seven months, seven days, or seven minutes of your life and start over?
If only you could take back that word spoken in anger, say no to that unwise suggestion, say yes to that forfeited opportunity, or salvage that broken relationship.
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Unfortunately, there's no rewind button in real life. However, God does offer us a powerful antidote to heal the regrets of past mistakes.
It's called forgiveness.
Guilt is one of the most debilitating of all human emotions. It wreaks destruction in our relationships with others and in our relationship with God.
Sometimes, because of the unrealistic expectations of ourselves or others, we suffer with false guilt. However, to be honest, most of the time people feel guilty because they are guilty.
All of us have certain things in our life of which we're ashamed.
Here's an example: Many years ago, a prominent playwright in London sent an anonymous note as a joke to 20 of London's leading citizens.
"All has been found out," the note read. "Leave the city at once." All 20 citizens immediately left London.
Unresolved guilt affects us both emotionally and spiritually.
One psychiatrist estimated that 70 percent of people in mental wards could be released today if they knew how to find forgiveness. Guilt breaks our relationships because it's a natural tendency to avoid people we've wronged.
Guilt produces separation.
The same phenomenon occurs in our relationship with God.
Are you suffering from a guilty conscience? Are there scenes from your past that you wish you could erase? Has unresolved guilt caused you to keep your distance from others? Or, more importantly, from God?
Are you tired of dealing with, living in, or running from the past? The good news is that forgiveness from the past is possible.
Every one of us has a past.
If you begin to read the Bible, you find out most of the people God used had a past or made huge mistakes while they were supposed to be Christians.
If we are unable to forgive someone, it creates bitterness in our heart, and when we make a mistake it creates guilt in our life.
One way or the other we have to move on from our past. To do that, sometimes we have to forgive someone or ask for forgiveness.
Paul said, "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto the things which are before."
It's hard to go forward carrying so much garbage. There's no reason to carry guilt and unforgiveness. Forgive someone today, or ask the one you offended for forgiveness.
You just might be surprised at what they might say.
Rev. Tony Bohrer's first column on forgiveness appeared in the March 4 edition of the Craig Daily Press.