“Dr. Bright!” she exclaimed. "The last six months have been the hardest months of my life, but at last I am free!” Beaming from ear to ear, her words emphasized what her countenance had already announced.
Six months prior, Dr. Henry Brandt, a Christian psychologist, asked my dad to join him as he met with one of our Campus Crusade for Christ staff members who was struggling to cope with each new day. She had agreed to let my dad join them.
After carefully listening to her story, Dr. Brandt asked this dear woman, “Who haven’t you forgiven?”
She responded, “I’ve forgiven everyone.” She meant it.
But Dr. Brandt, persisted, “No you haven’t. There is someone you haven’t forgiven. Who is it?”
After a moment the woman realized, “I guess I haven’t forgiven the young man who got my daughter pregnant.”
Dr. Brandt encouraged, “Go on. Who else haven’t you forgiven?”
After helping this woman come to grips with her own lack of forgiveness, Dr. Brandt gave her an assignment, “Over the next few months you need to forgive these people. It will be the hardest thing you have ever done, but if you do it you will be set free.”
My dad never forgot the initial conversation—nor the transformed woman he encountered six months later. Over the years, he repeated that story to me, almost with a sense of awe. Clearly, it marked his soul. It tangibly demonstrated the radical power of forgiveness in the life of the believer who is willing to embrace the work of forgiveness.
Are you struggling with hurt, anger, bitterness, or depression? Maybe the problem is a lack of forgiveness. Take some time before you go to bed tonight to ask God if there is someone you haven’t forgiven. Then, engage in the work of forgiveness.
Contemplate the truth that if God is truly sovereign then He allowed those hurts to come into your life to help conform you to the image of His dear Son. Thank Him, by faith, for those wounds. At first, it may be the hardest thing you have ever done. But don’t you want to be set free? Don’t you want to experience the joy and peace Jesus promised? I suspect, you do.
When we refuse to forgive those who have wounded us, it eats away like a cancer at our heart, mind, and soul. Embrace your freedom in Christ; forgive as you have been forgiven.
“Do not bear a grudge against others, but settle your differences with them, so that you will not commit a sin because of them. Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:17-18 GNT
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 NIV
*I have retold the preceding story as my dad told it to me as accurately as possible. I assume the quotes are not completely word for word accurate, but they accurately convey what occurred.
By Brad Bright
Copyright ©2022 Brad Bright