At our church (Woodstock City Church) we are doing a series called “Storytellers” which is basically what it sounds like, people telling their story. This past week Elaine Scott spoke about forgiveness. She spoke about being abused through her childhood and how that had affected her as an adult, and made relationships difficult. How it stole years from her. She spoke about her journey as a Christian and how it lead her to this need to forgive her abuser, and to go beyond that and pray for him. You can view her here at this link:
While your there I’d recommend checking out the message from the week before too, also a great story.
Whether you are a Christian or not, Elaine’s message can apply to you. We all have people in our lives that have wronged us in some way. When confronted with that person, or just the thought of that person, it gets us angry, bitter, and puts us in a bad place. When you go to that bad place, this is where this enemy steals from you, steals your relationships with those you care about and steals your ability to experience joy. But as Elaine said in her story, which I love this and tell it to my kids all the time, is that you cannot control other people and what they may do or say to you, but you can control how you respond. For her forgiveness was a process, a 20 year process. It started with just saying it but she realized that wasn’t enough. It was then a letter, and then a face to face meeting.
The point of sharing all this is for her story to encourage us to forgive those that have wronged us. If you do go ahead and watch the video, you’ll see the joy in her. Joy that she had to fight for, and you can tell she is so thankful she did it even though it was a difficult and long process.
This is such a big deal, holding onto resentment and bitterness not only steals joy, but also steals your health as it leads to stress. And we know how damaging stress is to our bodies. This can be as simple as letting it go when someone cuts you off in traffic (chances are it was an accident and they aren’t whatever word you just called them out loud or in your head) or as deep as forgiving someone that can truly be called your enemy.