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Why Forgive?

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2016 22 Sep

a hand clutching a cross rises out of the water

Imagine that your head is an inch below the water line. You can see the sky, but you can’t break through the surface. Your foot has become entangled in an old log that has settled to the bottom of the river, and you are struggling to free yourself. Your lungs feel like they’re ready to give out. Finally, with one last wrenching attempt, you get your leg loose and break through the surface, gasping for air. That’s a rather dramatic picture of what it can feel like when we are finally able to forgive someone who has wronged us deeply.

Donald Miller points out that there are several practical reasons why we need to forgive.

“The first,” he says, “is because, believe it or not, forgiveness is a pleasurable experience. No kidding, it feels much better than anger or hate. . . .

“The second reason for you to forgive is that it removes you from being entangled in the rather dark thing that hurt you in the first place. . . . Forgiveness gives you a taste of what it feels like to be God, and it’s a terrific feeling. God forgave us because it gave Him pleasure to do so. He was happy to do so. Love forgives, and so does God, and so can you.

“The third reason to forgive is that you open yourself up to amazing possibilities for a happy life. When you don’t forgive, you draw the curtains in your soul and your life gets dark. When you forgive you let the light in again, and you go on about your life in peace. And don’t you want some peace? Isn’t it time for some peace?”1

Feeling entangled, embittered, defeated? Isn’t it time you came up for air? Isn’t it time for some peace?

1. Donald Miller, “Want to Be Happy? Forgive Your Enemies,” Donald Miller’s blog, accessed September 19, 2016, http://storylineblog.com/2015/12/04/want-to-be-happy-forgive-your-enemies/.