Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
May 5, 2013
The incredible power of forgiveness
Forgiveness is power. You might say it is the most positive power in the world. Forgiveness can break chains that hold us in bondage to the past. It can set us free to have peace in the present and hope for the future.
A family cannot be healthy without the constant practice of forgiveness. That is because no one is perfect and sooner or later each of us will need forgiveness for having said or done something stupid. I know because I am chairman of the Stupid Comments Club.
Soon after my wife and I were married my mother gave us a framed copy of this profound statement: “Marriage: May there be such a oneness between you that when one weeps the other will taste salt.” It has hung in every bedroom we have shared during our almost 61 years of marriage.
We have shed a lot of tears. We have tasted a lot of salt. Again and again it has been forgiveness that saved and restored our marriage. That philosophy must have helped Mama and Daddy stay married too; they had checked off 67 years when Daddy died.
A broken relationship with my wife is at the top of my pain list. When our oneness has been broken I have been absolutely miserable. I cannot focus on the task at hand. All I can think about is “How can I fix this?”
Early in our marriage we sometimes endured a two-weeks “mad.” Rather than say “I am sorry,” we stubbornly breathed the air of righteous indignation. Anger and disappointment drove us to punish each other by withholding forgiveness. We were young and foolishly I suppose we thought we would “live forever.”
Fortunately we got better at “making up.” Now that we are old we can recover from a breakup quickly, sometimes within minutes. Actually we seldom have a spat these days; neither of us has the energy for a good fight. Perhaps that is one of the blessings of old age.
“Making up” is really one of the sweetest experiences of life. The process is not complicated. You come down off your high horse and admit you were wrong. You ask forgiveness. You offer forgiveness. You accept forgiveness. The result is magnificent. You exchange misery for joy – and the joy of oneness releases an extraordinary peace within your soul. Life is suddenly beautiful again.
When you become weary of pouting and chaffing because your feelings have been hurt, you might try saying “I was wrong; please forgive me. I want to put this behind us.”
Forgiveness is powerful. Offer it and pretty soon you may be tasting salt. And when you are miserable nothing tastes better than the salt of oneness restored. + + +