Forgiveness. It'll clear the bitterness away.In the past few years I've really been getting into the tween/teen book series by Rick Riordan. You've probably heard of Percy Jackson, if not from the half-dozen or so books about him and his friends, at least from the Disney movie that came out several years ago which was based on the first Percy Jackson book. Riordan has written several other series, and a while back my tween son got me interested in another one of them, "The Kane Chronicles." Last week I read the brand-new book in this series, The Serpent's Shadow. In the story, a huge supernatural snake is on the verge of destroying the world, but a part of him — his "shadow" in the story — is stuck. It is pinned to the ground by an obelisk (like the Washington Monument), and no matter how it writhes and struggles, the serpent can't get loose. (Fortunately, the heroes manage to defeat him and save the world, but that's not really what this blog post is about!)
It can even set a prisoner free...
The prisoner that it really frees is you.
This morning on my commute I heard the words I quoted above on the radio in a new song by Matthew West called "Forgiveness." I thought they were so apt and so true. Of course it's true that knowing they are forgiven can be a relief to the person you are forgiving, but sometimes the person who has wronged us doesn't even know he or she has done so. What about the person who cuts you off in traffic? (That did not happen to me during the Matthew West song, by the way!) What about a friend who says something to you on the telephone that they had no way of knowing would cause you pain because of some factor they didn't know about? Or what about someone who hurts you without doing anything wrong and without even realizing it? In all of those cases, the forgiveness technically is extended to that person, but the person who experiences the relief is you. That unforgiveness was the obelisk that was keeping you pinned to the ground, struggling to get free. But unlike the serpent's shadow, you have the power to release yourself.
Here's a video of Matthew West performing the whole song live, including West's account of the incident that inspired the song. Please enjoy it... and then choose to free yourself by forgiving someone today.
Here's a list of Scripture verses about forgiveness.