'The merciful...will be shown mercy.' Matthew 5:7 NIV
The German philosopher Schopenhauer compared the human race to porcupines huddled together on a winter night: 'The colder it gets outside, the more we huddle together for warmth. But the closer we get...the more we hurt one another with our sharp quills. And in the lonely night of earth's winter, eventually we begin to drift apart and wander out on our own and freeze to death in our loneliness.' What's the answer? 'Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us' (Matthew 6:12).
President Ronald Reagan understood this. After an attempt on his life in 1981, his daughter Patti Davis said, 'The following day my father said he knew his physical healing was directly dependent on his ability to forgive John Hinckley. By showing me that forgiveness is the key to everything, including physical health and healing, he gave me an example of Christ-like thinking.' Perhaps your wounds are old ones: an abusive parent, a cheating spouse, a business deal gone sour. Or maybe they're still fresh: an overlooked promotion, an unpaid debt, children who've forgotten you exist. Either way, you've a decision to make. Get over it, or get even. Let it heal, or turn to hate. Release it, or resent it. Resentment allows whatever's eating you to eat you up. It stokes the fire, fans the flames, and replays the pain.
Think about it: has your resentment brought you relief? If today you stood by the grave of the one who hurt you, would you be free? It's doubtful. 'The merciful...will be shown mercy,' because they've experienced an even greater grace - God's - and forgiveness is the key to understanding it.
SoulFood: Zech 5-8; Luke 23:1-12; Ps 39; Pro 24:26-28