“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
C S. Lewis pointed out that “forgiving does not mean excusing… if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive.” The people of Paducah, Kentucky, understood this. A few years ago, fourteen‐year‐old Michael Carneal opened fire on a group of students who had gathered in prayer. In seconds, ten were wounded, three fatally. Yet the students and people from the community showed a remarkable willingness to forgive. Placards appeared at the high school reading, “We Forgive You, Mike.” Kelly Carneal, Michael’s sister, was not only embraced by her peers, but was also asked to sing in the choir at the slain girls’ funeral.
During the town’s annual Christmas parade, the people lifted up a moment of silent prayer on behalf of Michael and his family. One young girl said it best: “I can hate Michael and bear the scars of what he did for the rest of my life. But I choose to forgive him and get beyond it.”
Dr. Arch Hart, a Christian psychologist says, “Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” Forgiving is a decision, not an emotion. In our marriages we’ll often need to choose to have a right attitude before our wounded heart has healed. Even when we can’t control how we feel, we can determine how we act and what we do with our pain.
Just between us…
- How did Jesus model forgiveness for us?
- Is there someone in our family, our community, or our circle of acquaintances who has committed a widely known injustice?
- How can we show this person forgiveness?
- Is it necessary to forget in order to forgive?
- From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James
& Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.