Ephesians 4:32 (New International Version)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Some years ago during a visit to Yellowstone Park one writer observed that the only animal the grizzly bear would share food with was a skunk. It wasn't that the grizzly wanted to share his food but rather that he chose to. With one swing of his powerful paw he could have crushed the skunk. So why did he allow the skunk to eat with him? Because he knew the high cost of getting even.
Undoubtedly he learned the hard way. Strange that we humans often aren't as smart. Sometimes we carry grudges for years, often repressing them from conscious memory, and end up hurting ourselves more than the ones we would like to get even with. We fail to see how damaging an unforgiving spirit is.
In his book, "None of These Diseases," Dr. S.I. McMillen says, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 to nearly 100 percent."
I read about one patient who was told by his doctor. "If you don't cut out your resentments, I may have to cut out a part of your intestinal tract."
Fortunately the man took the doctor's advice. He had been nursing a bitter grudge against a former business partner. He went to see this man, resolved their difference, and forgave him. When he returned to the doctor, his physical condition had cleared up. Smart man!
The reality is what we fail to forgive keeps us bound to and by the past. Forgiveness sets the hurt person free. That's why Jesus told Peter we need to forgive seventy times seven; that is, to keep on forgiving so we don't become bitter and resentful.
Dear Lord, please help us to forgive all who have ever hurt us as you forgive us for all we have ever done to hurt others. In Jesus' name, Amen.