Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
She came into my office holding a crumpled letter. She stared at the floor for awhile, and then said, “I can’t get beyond this. I can’t forget what she said to me.”
I asked for clarification. “This letter,” she said. “The things she wrote in it. They’ve destroyed my life.”
“How long have you had the letter,” I asked.
“Three years,” she said.
“How many times have you read it,” I inquired.
“Oh, dozens of times,” she said, “maybe hundreds.”
“Give the letter to me,” I said.
“What? Give it to you?”
“Yes,” I said, “Give it to me.”
“What will you do with it?” she asked.
“What I do with it isn’t nearly as important as what you do with it. Give it to me.”
Slowly, reluctantly, with a trembling hand, she reached out across my desk and handed over the letter; then she began to weep. After awhile I said, “Susan (fictitious name), now that you’ve given up the letter, would you be willing to give up the grudge?”
“But you don’t know how she hurt me.”
“You’re right,” I answered, “but you’ll never be released from her until you forgive.”
“But that wouldn’t change what happened.” she protested.
“You’re right, Susan," I said, "But it might change you.”
She looked at me for a long time, and then said, “I’m willing to forgive her, but how?” So I led her through a prayer of forgiveness. After a few minutes she looked up, made eye contact with me and smiled. “I feel lighter,” she said. “I feel at peace.”
“You should,” I explained, “Because forgiveness, when it is least deserved, has true, healing power.”
She nodded her head. “I’ll remember that,” she said. Then she thanked me and left. She never mentioned the letter again.
The Great Physician
It occurred to me recently
that the moment I start
to hate or despise someone
I become their slave.
They affect my
sleep, my appetite,
my relationships with others,
even my health.
Perhaps You were
trying to help me
save on medical bills
when You said,
"Forgive your enemies
just as your Father in
Heaven has forgiven you."
Lord, I'm understanding
more and more
why You're called
the Great Physician.