The Power Of Forgiveness, According To Lewis B. Smedes
Sometimes it is hard to even think of forgiving the person who has wronged us. It is a hard and painful decision to make. We don’t even want to think about the person who has wronged us. But if we don’t forgive the person who has wronged us, who is going to do it for us?
Nobody, but you.
It is hard to say, “I forgive you.” Yes, it hard for some people to forgive the person who has wronged them. But it pays to forgive. When you forgive, you have set yourself from prison.
When you forgive the person who has wronged you, according to Philip Yancy, in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace, he talked about the benefits of forgiveness. They are:
“First, forgiveness alone can halt the cycle of blame and pain, breaking the chain of ungrace. The second great power of forgiveness is that it can loosen the stranglehold of guilt in the perpetrator.”
In the same book, Lewis Smedes points out, “The first and often the only person to be healed by forgiveness is the person who does the forgiveness…. When we genuinely forgive, we set a prisoner free and then discover that the prisoner we set free was us.”
Lewis Smedes details this process of “spiritual surgery”: When you forgive someone, you slice away the wrong from the person who did it. You disengage that person from his hurtful act. You recreate him. At one moment you identify him ineradicably as the person who did you wrong. The next moment you change that identity. He is remade in your memory. You think of him now not as the person who hurt you, but a person who needs you. You feel him now not as the person who alienated you, but as the person who belongs to you. Once you branded him as a person powerful in evil, but now you see him as a person weak in his needs. You recreated your past by recreating the person whose wrong made your past painful.”
In 52 Simple Ways To Encourage Others, C. E. Collins says, “Our forgiving the person who has wrong us accomplishes two things simultaneously. It removes us from standing in the way of the person’s confrontation of himself and his actions. We are no longer the ‘excuse’ for the deed or the one against whom an act can be justified. In confronting himself and his evil acts, the person is in the right position for self-judgement and growth. Forgiving others frees us from the negative impact of hatred on our souls, emotions, and bodies. All in all, forgiveness can prompt a genuine healing process at many levels.”
Finally, It is painful to forgive the person who has wronged us. But when we do, we live and do better- physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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