By Girlie Gualberto-Suan

“Every time you forgive you set one prisoner free, and the prisoner is you.”

This world is an imperfect place and every one is a work in progress. We are asking for the impossible if we expect life to unfold perfectly, if we anticipate that everything will go smoothly. It is like saying the moon is square, if we presume that people will never make a mistake or hurt us or disappoint us.

Our fallen nature subjects us to weaknesses and sins. We see them clearly in others, but we are blind when it comes to ourselves. We examine other people’s shortcomings severely through a magnifying glass, but gloss over our own defects using rose-colored glasses.

Bear patiently with the mistakes of others, because you also have faults which others must endure.

Through unforgiveness we build an impenetrable fortress around our heart. We become prisoners of our festering hate, anger and desire for revenge. Forgiveness unlocks the iron chain, throws open the prison door, and enables the hardened prisoner to step out into the light of restored relationships and the gladness of an unburdened heart. When we choose to forgive, we are not doing our enemies a favor. The favor is on us. We are helping ourselves. We reap the benefit of peace, harmony and the joy of living.

Forgiveness is a decision. We forgive because God demands it from us. We are constantly in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness. To implore it from God and yet refuse to give it to those who have wronged us, is arrogance at its most deplorable depth. Pride is at the root of an unforgiving heart. We think a man is superior to us if we allow him to injure us without avenging the deed. On the contrary, the superior man is the one who forgives an injury rather than the one who inflicts it. Our spirit of forgiveness is in direct proportion to our degree of humility.

Harboring unforgiveness hinders God from answering our prayers. It contaminates our life with bitterness and unhappiness, and can even bring about physical illness. It has been known to trigger heart disease and cancer.

A man who underwent a heart bypass surgery regretfully confessed, “If only I had practiced forgiveness habitually, I would not have developed heart disease and undergone a bypass operation.” It’s not yet too late for the rest of us. Who knows, this article might bring healing to suffering readers by setting them free of their physical, emotional or spiritual bondage.

Do not wait for the offender to ask for pardon before you feel willing to reconcile. Decide to forgive first and trust God to soothe your bruised feelings and mend your broken relationship. To forgive is to give up the right to respond with anger at the person who has caused you pain. Write your grievances on a piece of paper, then crumple it and throw it into the fire never to be seen nor mentioned again.

Forgiveness is the way to experience one of the infinitely sublime pleasures of a liberated man. It opens heaven’s reward and puts us in line to receive God’s abundant shower of blessings. It is when we forgive that we step into the realm of the divine and most resemble God.

Do you find it hard forgiving? A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing!


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