We live in a world filled by cruel and mean people. People who make caustic statements, utter cutting remarks and air unkind comments. We live in a world of broken promises, broken marriages and broken homes. It's a world of never ending problems, filled with people who have lost their jobs because of peer jealousy and people who have been cheated out of their life's savings.
It's a world filled with children estranged from their parents and parents estranged from their children. It's a world filled with families whose members don't even speak to each other anymore, and close friends who have drifted apart.
Invariably, all the cruelty and meanness done to us leads us to anger and hatred, towards our tormentors. It leads us to bitterness, frustration and sleepless nights. Eventually, it leads to ulcers, high blood pressure, migraines, cancer, and lots more.Modern psychology and medical research has proved, beyond any doubt, that most sickness in man is due to broken relationships. Painful memories and thoughts destroy us and make us sick. So does rejection and hurtful words from our family, friends and colleagues.
Scientists and researchers tell us that there are numerous health hazards associated with anger, hatred and bitterness. They say it increases blood pressure and leads to hormonal changes which eventually result in cardiovascular disease, immune suppression, and possibly, impaired neurological function and memory loss.
There is a close relationship between emotions and disease. It is a fact that 90% of diseases are pneumo psychosomatic. So, although we run to doctors and hospitals, and spend loads of money, we get no relief. We have to realize that the only real cure for our malady is total forgiveness of our perceived tormentors.
Forgive my tormentors? Yes, for this is the only way to release them from your life and set yourself free. It's not easy to forgive people who have hurt you and caused you so much pain, but it's possible if we focus on Jesus Christ hanging on the cross at Golgotha.
What happened that day was unforgivable, but no finer, purer or better example of forgiveness can you find than Jesus, hanging on the cross, close to death, praying to His Father in heaven to forgive the very people who were putting Him to death!
Condemned to death by these evil men who wanted Him dead, convicted by lying witnesses who testified falsely against Him, Jesus looked down on the mob who were taunting, mocking, jeering and cheering His sufferings, and the only truly innocent and sinless man who ever walked this sinful earth, uttered words that still melt the hardened hearts of sinners: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Lk 23 : 34). These dozen words still ring across 2,000 years, and shatter into smithereens all our lame excuses for not forgiving those who ill-treat us and hurt us, for continuing to carry our burdens of bitterness, anger, and our desire for vengeance.
In recent times, Gary and Bonnie Witherall went to Lebanon to help the refugees, as well as to share Christ in the Muslim world, but on November 21, 2002 Bonnie was slain by an assailant in the prenatal clinic for the refugee women. Gary had every right to have anger and hatred towards Bonnie's assailant, but two days later, sobbing at a memorial service for his wife, he told hundreds of mourners: "Whoever did this crime, I forgive them. It's not easy. It took everything that I have but I can forgive these people because God has forgiven me." Yes, forgiveness is never easy. But, it becomes easier when we realize that forgiveness is not about us, and it's not about those who hurt us. Forgiveness is all about God.
Jesus said, "If you forgive others the wrongs they have done you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done" (Matt 6 : 14 - 15). Then He went ahead and put into practice what He had preached, on the cross at Golgotha. Your forgiveness doesn't depend on the person who you wish to forgive. You don't need their permission to forgive them. You neither need their approval nor their agreement that they were wrong.
As Gary Witherall, later, explained: "God said there's a seed that's been planted in your heart. You either hate and be angry, or you forgive. I said I have to forgive." Today, we live in a world of plastic cards, especially Credit cards and ATM cards. When we need money we go to the Automatic Teller Machine and withdraw what we need. We have instant money in our hands. That's why we call them Any Time Money cards. But, few of us know that in our hearts we have an automatic dispensing machine, too, and it responds only to our Any Time Mercy card. So, choose forgiveness in your heart, flash your Any Time Mercy card, forgive your tormentors, and move on to a healthy and