Forgiveness - more than letting go

[This blog entry was written after seeing Gorse Hill School’s value for the month]

A dog suspected of having rabies bit a woman who as walking down the street. She was rushed to hospital, treated immediately but was left in a side room while they checked to see if the dog actually had rabies. While she was lying there waiting, a newly qualified Doctor was assigned to counsel her on the possible consequences of the bite. Within a few minutes, as she grew more thoughtful, he realised he had told her too much.

She requested that she be left alone, with a writing pad and a pen. As the Doctor looked in half an hour later, she was scribbling furiously away. Occasionally she would stop, looking out of the window as if thinking, and then begin writing again. He went in to try and bring her some comfort as she waited for the test result. He asked her what she was writing – was it her will he enquired. “No,” she said. “In the event that I have been infected, I’m making a list of the people I want to bite before I die.”

Revenge or retribution can be sweet in some people’s eyes. After all, it seems to balance the scales doesn’t it – an eye for an eye? There are probably occasions when we all want to bite the one who has bitten us – and let’s face it being bitten by others is often more than a quick nip at the ankles – it can be devastating

Stop for a moment and reflect on the example of one man who had every reason to retaliate because he was being punished for a crime that he certainly didn’t commit. Jesus was killed – crucified – for the crimes of others, paying the penalty that each of us ought to pay.

He did not retaliate, nor rail at the injustice of it all, he simply prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

If Jesus could ask for forgiveness for the soldiers driving in the nails; for the false and corrupt judge passing the sentence, then perhaps we need to think again about the hurts that others cause us. Revenge is a bitter pill not a sweet gain but forgiveness builds bridges, mends hurts and hearts and draws us together. How about it?

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