“Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin. You’re going to live with those consequences whether you want to or not; your only choice is whether you will do so in the bitterness of unforgiveness or the freedom of forgiveness.” ~ Neil Anderson
I read this quote the other day in Insight On Romans, a commentary on the Biblical book by Chuck Swindoll. I like Chuck. Though I’ve never met him, he’s become my pastor, one of the seasoned voices I turn to for spiritual mentoring. Over the past decade, I’ve probably learned more as his student than from my many Sundays at church. He isn’t the only teacher in my life. Such a monopoly on my spiritual growth would be dangerous. But he’s one of a handful whom I deeply admire.
And so, despite the fact that everything in me rebelled against these trite words slapped on a painful subject, I kept reading. But I didn’t like it. We shouldn’t have to live with anyone’s consequences other than our own. Even the possibility made me indignant.
But I reread the quote, again and again, trying to take it in. I read the words against the backdrop of some of the deepest wounds I’ve endured, wounds I still struggle to forgive. It occurred to me the reason each is difficult to release is because I am, in fact, living with injustice. Wrongs I didn’t commit but with which I’m still suffering the consequences. It’s seems unfair. It IS unfair. The unfairness makes me reluctant to forgive.
My head spinning with all the implications, I kept reading in my commentary. In follow-up to Anderson’s quote, Swindoll said this: “As long as you hold onto a wrong done to you, you will be overcome by evil and you will be victimized by the very thing you are trying to get rid of. So, you have only one choice. It’s uncomplicated, yet anything but easy. Learn from my experience. Let it go.”
Let go. Something easier said than done, but necessary for freedom.
Do you have anything you need to let go of? Any injustice that needs to be relinquished to the hands of a just God? You’re not doing it for anyone other than yourself. YOU are the one who stands to gain or lose based on what you decide to do.