Mark 11:25 (NIV)
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
I read this statement recently: "To err is dysfunctional, to forgive co-dependent." I sometimes wonder if we believe that. True forgiveness is still one of the most remarkable traits a human can possess!
A few years ago, Hildegard Goss-Mayr of the "International Fellowship of Reconciliation" told this true story.
In the midst of tragic fighting in Lebanon in the 1970s, a Christian seminary student was walking from one village to the next when he was ambushed by an armed Druze guerrilla fighter. The Druze ordered his captive down a mountain trail where he was to be shot.
But an amazing thing happened. The seminarian, who had received military training, was able to surprise his captor and disarm him. Now, the table was turned, and it was the Druze who was ordered down the trail.
As they walked, however, the student of theology began to reflect on what was happening. Recalling the words of Jesus, "Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; turn the other cheek," he found he could go no further. He threw the gun into the bushes, told the Druze he was free to go and turned back up the hill.
Minutes later, he heard footsteps running behind him as he walked. "Is this the end after all?" He wondered. Perhaps the Druze had retrieved the gun and wanted to finish him off. But he continued on, never glancing back, until his enemy reached him, only to grab him in an embrace and pour out thanks for sparing his life.
Mercy often wears the face of forgiveness. And though it usually isn't an enemy in uniform that we are challenged to forgive, we have opportunities for mercy every day. Family members and friends, co-workers and neighbors and even strangers have need for our forgiveness. You know who they are.
Dear Lord, gives us a heart of forgiveness. Help us forgive those around us so that they may see Your love though us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.