St Francis, it was said, ‘walked this earth as the Pardon of God.’ Immersed in God’s healing goodness he radiated mercy and forgiveness. And he constantly echoes the teachings of Jesus on the necessity of cleansing our hearts of all resentment, bitterness, and of the desire for revenge. ‘Since you speak of peace, all the more so should you have peace in your hearts.’
I find that when I speak on this topic it is always listened to with great eagerness. Very many people carry the hurts and wounds of the past with them, often from childhood and family. Those closest to us can hurt us most deeply precisely because they are close to us, and what they say and do has great power to build us up or tear us down.
Because these memories and emotions are hard to face they are often denied. But just because something is covered does not mean it is healed. Just because something is denied does not mean it is not influencing our daily living. Just because someone is dead does not mean the hurt is dead.
As we grow in our friendship with the Lord there comes a time when the burdens of hurt and anger carried from the past need to be recognised, acknowledged and, by God’s grace, put down in forgiveness. It is a law of life, hard but true, that when a deep injury has been done to us we do not find healing and peace until we forgive.
Forgiveness is medicine for our hearts.
With forgiveness we are freed from the cold grip of the past. Forgiving we regain our souls.