I’m swimming upstream today so I’ll hurry before I lose my gumption.
Here goes: Lewis B. Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” This philosophy is highly promoted these days on placards, from the pulpit, by the counselors, about everywhere. Sounds so good. And if that brings you freedom and peace, good. Go ahead, do it.
But I’m thinking we should forgive because Jesus said to do so. Bible says, “…forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph. 4:32). Did Jesus forgive me to set HIMSELF free? No, he forgave me to set ME free!
Smedes quote puts the cart before the horse. The freedom of the forgiver is a result; it should not be the motivation. Sort of like a financial advisor telling you to pay your tithes so God will give back to you. Wrong motivation! Do it because God said to. Pay your tithes to achieve financial security? Forgive to be set free? Wrong motivation. Act in obedience.
When we love enough to forgive because Jesus forgave us just because he loved us, maybe the Holy Spirit will make forgiveness an easier thing to do.
I had to apologize to a friend because of my snit in response to an issue. I believe she forgives me because she loves me and/or because Jesus said to do so, not just because she wants to be free.
Image from Wiki article “How to Forgive Abusive Parents.” Practical suggestions – Just remember Jesus will help also.