Chaplain (Maj.) Chris Wilson
Family Life Chaplain, Schofield Barracks
While thumbing through a dictionary recently, I looked up a word I believe to be essential both to my faith as a Christian as well as humanity as a whole to understand and practice.
That word is “forgive,” defined as “to give up resentment of.”
In my daily ministry, I have come to the realization that most of us struggle with forgiveness in some form or another; whether it is something as simple as a harsh word spoken today or an act of cruelty 15 years ago.
Have you ever been wronged by someone? I believe that being wronged or hurt is just a fact of life, and at some point we have all been wronged or will be wronged by someone. We will also wrong someone ourselves.
Think for a moment of an incident in which you felt you were wronged.
What have you done with that feeling? Are you storing it up inside, just waiting for the opportunity to let it out and make your anger known? Do you have it kept in the back of your mind, waiting for the opportunity to get even?
If so, I challenge you to get rid of that memory, and you will be able to free yourself up.
When I think about forgiveness, I am reminded of some great advice given by a very caring individual.
A friend of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, once reminded her of an especially cruel thing that had been done to her years ago. But Barton seemed to not recall it. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” came the reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.”
I hope you realize you can’t be free and happy if you harbor grudges, so put them away. All of us need to strive to be like Barton and get rid of them.
You and I should collect postage stamps or collect coins, if we wish, but do not collect grudges.
Next time you have some free time to think and reflect on your life, I want to encourage you not to collect grudges.
Oftentimes, those collections we have of grudges only affect us. They do not seem to affect the other person a bit.
And remember that when you forgive, you are not changing the past, but you are changing the course of the future.
Go in peace!