Set Me Free
By Kelli Beaucage
wrote me an angry e-mail the other day. After her letter
opened with the usual cheery greetings and newsy updates,
the words turned sour as she began to share what was really
in her heart.
was having parent problems. And even though she is a grown
woman, her parents, particularly her father, were still
trying to "control" her life.
I haven't reached [their] level of acceptance and excellence,"
she wrote, adding, "every time I see my parents, whatever
level of confidence I feel . . . gets destroyed".
with my friend's anguish - I know what it's like to have
people reject my views as invalid, and then manipulate me
into doing what they want.
though I could empathize with her frustration, the root
of her anger became apparent as I read.
I had to respond. And I knew I needed to be careful to not
add "fuel to the fire". Still, I had to be honest
and give my friend advice that would help lead her on the
path of healing.
path is called forgiveness. It's not an easy path, but it
is the only path to freedom.
think many people truly understand the power of forgiveness.
Instead, we justify our angry feelings and when someone
wrongs us, we seek revenge. Sometimes that revenge is reflected
in our words and actions. Often, it plays out in thoughts
as we fantasize about the other person getting humiliated
and punished in some way.
an incident when I was in high school, when my friend said
some things that were totally out of line. I responded with
the silent treatment for three months. Years later I realized
that although I felt justified at the time, my hurt feelings
were not worth losing a good friend. I regret that I did
not forgive a lot sooner, for I could have saved a friendship.
do we learn to forgive and live a regret-free life? Over
the years I've come to learn that forgiving others is first
of all a choice - a deliberate act of our will. Believe
me, when someone has wronged you, you will never "feel"
like forgiving them!
I've come to realize that I can't order my life according
to my feelings. Moreover, if I choose to do what is right,
despite how I "feel", my feelings will eventually
change. When I forgive, it's not just a matter of letting
someone off the hook. Most important, I free myself from
the pain, hurt, bitterness and resentment that inevitably
accompanies a refusal to forgive. I set myself free to experience
peace and fulfillment. The power of forgiveness is truly
answer to my friend, I had to make this message clear. I
shared with her what Jesus taught about those we call our
"enemies": bless, don't curse them. And then He
added something else - pray for those who do you wrong!
That's quite a tall order when you think about it.
I know it works. I experienced Jesus' forgiveness
firsthand when I entrusted my life to Him. He
forgave me of every wrong that I had ever committed.
And by receiving His forgiveness and love, I
was empowered to forgive others. It really is
a wonderful way to live. And His forgiveness
is available to anyone, anytime. All you have
to do is ask.
Beaucage is a freelance writer and ordained minister. She
and her husband, Leonard, pastor a church in Saskatchewan,
Canada. If you would like to interact with her about this
article, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
you know God personally? Read:
Peace with God