“I Forgive you” are three words that heal anyone, anywhere, anytime.
‘Mary Grant- in her book-how to forgive when you don’t know how’ says; a rabbi who lost his family in the holocaust told us that he forgave because he chose not to bring Hitler to America. How true it is that when we don’t forgive a person we carry that person within us and with that we also carry vengeance and hatred with us. When we forgive a person, we feel liberated. Forgiveness and forgiving brings healing. The world famous Evangelist and Preacher Billy Graham testifies that of all the hospital visits he had made during his lifetime, he found that three fourths of the hospital beds were occupied by patients who had a serious problem of forgiving. They were either not forgiven or were unforgiving themselves. Unforgiving people outnumbered everyone else.
In the book of Genesis we see that when Cain killed his brother Abel, God made him a wanderer. Then Cain asks God “what if someone kills me”. God says if someone kills you, they will be avenged seven times. So the Jewish understanding of forgiveness meant, to forgive seven times. Keeping Jewish thought in mind, Peter asks Jesus how many times one ought to forgive. But Jesus oversteps the norm of forgiving just “seven times”, instead, he says “not seven, but seventy times seven”.
In other words, forgiveness should become our way of life. The joy of any relationship lies in forgiveness. It exonerates the one who is forgiven as much as the one who forgives. There can be no better example than Jesus himself, enduring excruciating pain before his persecutors and proclaiming forgiveness to them “Father, Forgive them for they know not what they do…” In declaring pardon to his executioners, Jesus erased every bitter feeling from his mind and died a peaceful death. Henry Nouwen says; ‘Memories remain but it should not be of bitter feeling’.
When we hate our enemies, we give them the power over us-power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness. Our enemies would dance with joy if they surmised that they worry and lacerate us. Our hatred is not hurting them at all; it only turns our own days and nights into a hellish turmoil. So forgive. Become a healer.