Nothing robs us of inner peace like unforgiveness. Whatever offenses we have suffered at the hands of another, and they may be grievous injuries, we add to our misery when we hold on to unforgiveness.
Unforgiveness causes difficulties beyond the person or institution that harmed us, resulting in problems with other relationships. It takes a toll on our emotions and even our physical health. It definitely impacts our spirits, weighing them down and, if you’re a praying person, can be a reason for unanswered prayers.
Just as it’s good to keep our homes and offices tidy, regularly doing thorough cleaning, it is wise for us to tend to spiritual housekeeping. We are wise to forgive those who have wronged us and take account of those we have harmed, too.
Catherine Marshall writes in her book A Man Called Peter about a time when she experienced dibilitating health that confined her to bed. She reached a crossroads. If she was to genuinely live a life sharing in God’s love, she would need to do deep cleaning — letting go of resentments, forgiving others, and being accountable for her own behavior for which she needed forgiveness.
I knew that anything unloving in me, any resentment, unforgiveness, or impurity shut God out, just as a muddy window-pane obscures the sunlight. Painfully, in an agony of mind and spirit, I began thinking back over my life, recalling all too vividly all of my transgressions and omissions. … Through many days I put down on paper all of the things of which I was ashamed. Some of it I shared with my mother, some with Peter. To some people far away, I wrote letters asking for their forgiveness for things they had long since forgotten, or had never even known about. It took me days to muster the courage to mail those letters. Then I claimed God’s forgiveness and cleansing. (P. 181)
The process is much like the work done in 12-step groups when people make a “searching and fearless moral inventory” of themselves, followed by the act of admitting to God, to themselves and to another person the exact nature of their wrongs.
Does your spiritual house need a quick tidying up, or do you need to spend more effort to face your resentments, unforgiveness and your own behaviors for which you need forgiven?
Invest the time! It’s vital work and it will transform your life!
More on forgiveness this week!
Peace to you, friends!