The Power of Forgiveness -- By: Charles Ligon

The Power of Forgiveness

The entire world was devastated when a lone shooter brutally shot and killed the pastor and eight members of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.  Then, the world was shocked when the victims’ families responded with forgiveness toward the one who had murdered their precious loved ones. I listened intently as each family member spoke words of forgiveness and was reminded of the words of our savior as he was dying on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. You see, it is only by His Spirit that these families could do such a thing…and their testimony to the world was indeed powerful.  As difficult as it may be, every believer is called to emulate this model of Christ’s love, compassion and forgiveness.

C.S. Lewis once said, Forgiveness is a lovely idea until you have someone to forgive. So true, but believers have been given a divine example to follow and His Spirit to empower us. Colossians 3:13 says, bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you”. Inasmuch as we have been forgiven, God has commanded us to forgive others. Mark 11:25 says…if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. God knows it is in our best interest to forgive others. Why? Someone once said unforgiveness is the poison we drink hoping someone else will die.  The emotional burden of it will destroy you.  Furthermore, unforgiveness hinders our daily walk with the Lord and our relationships with others. Conversely, forgiveness releases us from anger, resentment and bitterness and brings healing. Forgiveness is freedom.

The workplace presents countless opportunities to practice forgiveness. It is a storehouse for offenses that we might find difficult to forgive. Gossip, pettiness and unfair treatment often create hurt and pain. General conflict, poor communication or inconsiderate acts can affect us and be difficult to overlook. How about you? Have you been hurt?  Are you bitter towards someone? First, understand that the actions of others, while insensitive, may have been unintentional. Second, refuse to develop an unforgiving attitude as it will only make matters worse. Third, decide to practice forgiveness and enjoy the freedom that follows.

Our workplace challenge is to follow the example of Christ and to be quick to forgive others. Make the decision to give up blame, fault and refuse to hold a grudge. Then, surrender your will to God and ask him to heal any unforgiveness in your heart. Where necessary, seek reconciliation by asking others to forgive your anger or bitterness toward them. We are to forgive as the Lord forgave us and we are to do it for his Glory!