This week, we’re featuring a series of blog articles that all relate to forgiveness. We hope this theme resonates with you as we start a new year. Today’s article was originally published on Jan. 22, 2014.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel: 36:36)
In yesterday’s blog post, we saw how this verse epitomizes what happened to a man’s heart when he prayed for the ability to forgive a person who caused immeasurable pain in his life.
As I listened to our Sunday school teacher read Brother Fred Keener’s testimony, as related in yesterday’s blog post, I immediately recalled a striking similarity to another testimony that I’d heard of another stony heart granted the power to forgive through God’s spirit. As a continuation of our Sunday school lesson, it was shared with the class and now with all of you.
Matthew West sings a powerful song about forgiveness. He based the song on the true story of Renee, a woman who lost her 20-year-old daughter in a car accident caused by a drunk driver:
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you….
Some might say, “I could never forgive like that” — and how true. Human hearts are all flawed and in need of a Savior. Forgiveness at that level is only achievable with God’s help and is an ongoing process. “To err is human, to forgive divine” is an understated truth.
Others argue that the forgiveness of an atrocious act dishonors innocent victims. Again, how tightly humans cling to our right to revenge and hold grudges, prolonging pain for all the wrong reasons. The inability to forgive as Christ implores us to do can be likened to remaining in a prison cell, where the key hangs from a door that only opens from the inside.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.