A short reflection….

Forgiveness is a work of the heart — first, foremost, and forever.

Beginning in the heart, forgiveness reflects a decision made on the inside to refuse to live in the past. This is critical. You can’t move forward if you are still holding on to the past. It would be like looking at something on one side of the room and, without turning your head, trying to see something on the other side of the room.

In dealing with people, you may have heard someone say, “I just can’t get over it” or “I can’t let it go.” These people have not forgiven. The old adage is true: You don’t hold a grudge as much as a grudge holds you. Booker T. Washington gave voice to a profound insight: “Holding a grudge doesn’t hurt the person against whom the grudge is held; it hurts the one who holds it.” He also said, “I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”

Forgiveness is letting go of the past and releasing the people who hurt us. Archbishop Desmond Tutu declared, “Without forgiveness, there is no future.”

Forgiveness does not deny the pain or change the past, but it does break the cycle of bitterness that binds us to the wounds of yesterday. Forgiveness allows us to let go and move on.

Forgiveness is like salvation — it is a gift that is freely given; it cannot be earned. We can forgive without saying, “I forgive you,” because forgiveness is a matter of the heart.

Not forgiving costs your heart. In time your heart will become cold, dark, and lifeless. The grudge you hold holds you in the end, petrifying your heart.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13