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Let It Go
At one time or another, every one of us has been hurt, offended, or treated unfairly. In addition, we've all felt the sting of rejection and the pain of being misunderstood or unappreciated. When that happens, its effects can produce scars and wounds that in some cases can last through an entire lifetime. The subsequent bitterness and resentment left in the heart, often lead to an unforgiving spirit. In the end, many relationships are destroyed, families are divided, and lives are ruined. A young lady who many years ago shared with me her sister's string of several unfortunate experiences, made this unsurprising remark: "My sister doesn't deserve that!" I thought to myself: "How interesting that we often make our own personal judgments regarding who does or does not deserve things." In case you haven't noticed, bad things happen to good people as often as they do to the bad ones. I'm sure we all know a few persons who have told us that they have every right to be resentful after all the things others have done to them. Some even believe that they have the right to never forgive those who have done things to hurt them or their family. If there was ever One who truly had the right to be bitter, resentful, and unforgiving, considering who He was and what He did for mankind, it was Christ. Yet, it was Jesus who taught his followers to pray these words: and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Mt 6:12) It was Jesus who said that if we do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will our Heavenly Father forgive us. (Mt 6:15) And it was that same Jesus who after being beaten, humiliated, cursed, mocked, and nailed unmercifully to a cross, looked up into the sky and said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Lk 23:24) You know, God has never commanded us to do anything that was hurtful to us. On the contrary, every thing that He has ever demanded of us is geared to our benefit, and forgiveness is no exception. Hate, bitterness, and resentment are burdens that are just too heavy for the soul of man to carry for too long. Think about this: From the time He came into the world, Jesus was rejected. John 1:11 tells us that He came unto His own, (Jews) and His own received  Him not. When he walked among men, He healed, saved, and transformed people's lives forever. Still, many turned their backs on Him. Those He came to help, nailed him to the cross. Dear reader, you probably know this already, but one of the biggest hurts in the world is to love someone with all your heart, and that person not love you in return. That's what happened to Jesus. We read that on the night before His arrest, He prayed in agony at Gethsemane. I hope you don't think He agonized mostly at the thought of His impending humiliation and physical pain. I believe, as do many readers of the Bible, that much of it was due to the rejection He experienced. Yet, you know what He did with that hurt when He went to the cross? He let it go! He asked the Father to forgive his tormentors as He committed everything into His hands. That's exactly what we need to do, if we've let hate and bitterness dwell in our heart. We too have to let it go because hate and resentment eat away at the heart on the inside, and those who carry it, hurt themselves more than the person(s) to whom those feelings are directed. We have to let go of these ugly emotions because when we do, we honor God. When we emulate our Master, we honor God, and Jesus forgave. What? You say you can't forgive and forget? Don't worry about the issue of forgetting. Jesus said we should forgive, period! Forgiving is not a matter of feelings, but a matter of choice. It is a spiritual certificate of release. When a judge has been given an order to release a prisoner, he has to let him go even if he hates him as a person. It is the same when we tell God that we forgive a person. The feelings of the heart have no bearing in this release. Nevertheless, our submission to God's will in this matter will go even further. In time, even the unkind feelings of the heart will fade. Be free again! Let that burden go!
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