fish upstream
Swimming against the flow!

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.

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 adviser telling you to pay your tithes so God will give back to you. Wrong motivation! Do it because God said to. Pay your tithes – achieve financial security; forgive – be set free. Again, those are results, not proper motivation.

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. Don’t be manipulated by human rewards – whether from placards, pulpit, or psychologists! I had to apologize to a friend because of my snit in response to an issue. I hope she forgives me because she loves me.  If she does we will both be free.

I understand that some things are much more egregious than a snit!  Hard things – murder, rape, betrayal.  The following teaching helped me through a very bad time.  When Jesus said to forgive seventy times seven times, he might have been saying to forgive THE SAME INCIDENT 490 times. That is so true. Some things you have to just say “I forgive __ regarding that.” Next time it comes to mind, say the same thing. Next time, the same. Few if any incidents can you willingly speak forgiveness 490 times and have it still hound you! Personally, I believe the Holy Spirit will help you long before 49 times let alone 490! 



Image:  Trout swimming upstream in Cheat River. (Photo by John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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  1. pranabaxom says:

    “The freedom of the forgiver is a result; it should not be the motivation.” – absolutely and I hereby forgive your blind faith on POTUS😂

  2. Good point! The “What’s-in-it-for-me?” attitude is just as prevalent in the Church as anywhere else. The difference is, we have access to One who can help us transcend that.
    P.S. Years ago I was having a hard time forgiving some people, because as much as I tried to convince myself they had good reason for the way they treated me (They didn’t.), or they didn’t mean to hurt me (They did.), I knew deep down that they didn’t deserve to be forgiven. I heard the Lord say, “If you can’t forgive them because they deserve forgiveness, how about forgiving them because I asked you to?” It took a split second of remembering what He had done for me to come to the point where I’d do ANYthing for Him. “OK, Jesus.” And that was the end of that.

  3. I once heard that in those days the measurement of a circle was not what we know today as 360 but rather 490– so Jesus was telling us to do so continually -hence the continuum of a circle— that’s your fun fact for the day ☺️

  4. This was perfect Oneta. The perspective is so spot on. We are indeed a people who want gratification for ourselves first and you are right….wrong motivation.

  5. Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote says:

    Wonderful, brilliant, TRUE post.

  6. Faye says:

    This is a wonderful and true post. I thank you for it.
    Forgiveness has been freely given to us. We forgive because we love not because of what we may gain. (I surely don’t believe we have any need for forgiveness is we differ in politics or other issues. If we become arrogant or belligerent then perhaps our attitude needs forgiveness not our political opinion) Again thanks you expressed this post succinctly. .

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