Sometimes God speaks into your life in some of the most unexpected ways. This week while watching an episode of the television series “Friday Night Lights”–a series created to reveal the world of Texas high school football–I stumbled across a quote that struck a cord with my soul.
A young high school football star who was paralyzed by breaking his neck while making a tackle found himself struggling with his plight and the unfaithfulness of his cheerleader girlfriend who hooked up with his best friend. In a confessional conversation with the high school guidance counselor who happened to be his head coach’s wife, he admitted he still loved his girlfriend, yet he could not make himself go back to her. The counselor looked deep into his eyes and peered into his soul and said:
“There’s no weakness in forgiveness….”
When I heard that line I wanted to jump up like a crazed fan celebrating his hometown fullback plowing in for a winning touchdown. She nailed it. She offered advice that could save him from a lifetime of bitterness, depression, and despair. Of course, I know it is only a television show and both actors were simply playing parts, but you need to know my grandmother used to pray for her favorite characters on “As the World Turns”–her favorite soap opera. Seriously I applaud the screen writer for sending such a strong message about the significance and power of forgiveness.
Too many people view forgiveness as the surrender of the weak to the powerful and cruel. Or that forgiveness allows the wicked to get away with murder in the name of grace. The cross of Jesus unveiled the power and the majesty of love and forgiveness. He bore my sin, that I might experience grace that can only be called amazing.
I have found the weak hate, and seek revenge because they cannot harness the strength to rise above their wounds to be victors. The weak, who excuse themselves by saying “that just the way I am”, wallow in the mud and mire of bitterness, resentment, and revenge. Hatred and revenge may provide a rush of emotion and satisfaction only to leave a poisonous after taste that consumes the soul from the inside out.
At its essence forgiveness is love. Mother Teresa pointed out:
“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive”
I totally agree, and must point out offering forgiveness is a learned act of grace. Hatred comes naturally–forgiveness emerges from a soul at rest in the unconditional love of God. When one fully embraces the grace and love offered at the cross, the forgiven soul learns to forgive from the Master of grace who holds us with nail-scarred hands.
Jesus nailed it when He revealed from above the following principles of life.
36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:36-38 NIV)
Be strong–learn to forgive–it could save your spiritual life!