I have discovered that there is something found in a lot of families. When it is there, it slowly eats away and destroys families forever.
I have seen with my own eyes: strong vibrant families that did everything together with their love and bond strong, and then one day it happened — a single wrong act or word destroyed it all.
It cut deep and the hurt began. There seems to be no room for any hope of forgiveness and each passing day, the cut gets deeper and deeper and the pain and hurt settle in, right to the heart.
Unforgiveness is a cancer to families, marriages, churches and friendships. The ones who harbor the unforgiveness, have given themselves a life sentence of unhappiness because, in actuality, the only person you are really hurting is yourself and those closest to you.
This is one of Satan’s biggest weapons! The cancer of unforgiveness spreads from one person to the other, and it will destroy anyone in its path.
I have seen families who have not spoken to one another in 20 years because of something that was said. Twenty years of family happiness, lost, and it can never be brought back.
Many know the story of Cornelia “Corrie” Ten Boom. She was a Dutch watchmaker and a Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. It has been estimated that Corrie and her family helped save over 800 lives. Betrayed by a fellow Dutch citizen, the entire family was imprisoned.
Corrie and her sister, Betsie were eventually sent to Herzogenbusch, a concentration camp, and finally to Ravensbrück, a women’s labor camp in Germany.
Mrs. Boom survived and went on to fulfill her ministry after the War. She endured torture and hardships most people cannot imagine. One interview, Mrs. Boom said that the two most difficult things she endured during captivity were the death of her sister, Betsy, and the many times she was forced to strip naked in front of the German soldiers.
One of the things that Corrie longed to do was to be granted the opportunity to go back to Germany and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God opened the door and she was able to do just that. One evening after one of her services where she was teaching about the Salvation of Jesus and forgiveness, she saw a man approaching her. Her blood turned cold in her veins; the man walking towards her was one of the very soldiers in the concentration camp where she and her sister were held captive. She remembered him as being one of the cruelest there. He was the one who had direct involvement in the death of her sister, Betsy and who would love to stand in front of her and make fun as she was forced to stand there alone and naked.
The former German soldier now stood in front of her again and this time he said, “I know that you remember who I am. I want you to know that I have given my heart to God and I am so ashamed of all the things I have done to you and to so many others. Would you please accept my apology and forgive me?”
He stretched out his hand, inviting Corrie to shake his hand and grant him the forgiveness he so wanted. Corrie Ten Boom stood there frozen in time, not believing what she just heard. She had just completed a teaching on salvation and forgiveness and how important it is to forgive and here she was now, face to face with the ultimate test.
She knew she did not have the strength on her own to shake this man’s hand, let alone to forgive him; this strength would have to come straight from God! The next thing she knew she felt her hand in his. Corrie said, “When my hand went into his, I felt a warmth flow through my arm into his, and I knew it was the love of God.” All of a sudden, Corrie had the strength to utter the words, “Yes I forgive you!”
Corrie Ten Boom said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover the prisoner was you!”
Perhaps you know that you have wronged someone. Maybe it was years ago, but you still remember it. I’m willing to guess that the person you wronged still remembers it as well. Do you know that you have the power to change that person’s life and your life forever? I challenge you to find that person or call that person and say, “I did you wrong, and I want to tell you how sorry I am! Will you please forgive me?”
I can promise you that no matter what the wrong was, when you say those words, all the walls of resentment will come crashing down and they will forgive you.
Perhaps you have been wronged by someone and they have hurt you so badly. I mean it is so obvious how badly they have hurt you over and over and over. It has kept you up at night, and you have cried enough tears to fill the ocean. Often times, years and years go by of continual hurt. This is so difficult to deal with on a daily basis.
Individuals in this predicament do have some power on their side. There is something you can do, and when it’s done with the right heart, it brings the mighty power of God on the scene like nothing else.
You can go see that person, or you call that person, and with tears rolling down your face, (because the tears will be rolling down your face) you tell that person who has wronged you, to please forgive YOU for anything you have done to them. You tell them how sorry you are and how much you truly love them and you need them to forgive you.
When you do this, you instantly slap Satan in the face and you will also put a stop to anything bad coming your way from this person ever again! God will take over from there and you will be amazed how free you will feel!
God, give us the boldness we need to say I am sorry. Give us the boldness we need to ask for forgiveness. I pray for every family and every relationship and for every person reading this article. May we all make it right where the wrong has been made and may we do it with the love of Jesus.
You know the bible talks about how if we cannot forgive our brother, Christ cannot forgive our sins. I don’t know about you, but I need all the forgiveness I can get from the Lord.
Set a prisoner free today. Forgive… God will help you!
Do something to make a difference in someone’s life today!