I had a friend in the ministry who told me about a funeral. He said the man he buried was the most negative, critical person ever. In the church he was always mad about something and everybody avoided him. After the funeral the man’s son came up and said, “Preacher, I want to apologize for my father. My father was miserable. Over the years he stored up every slight, every offense given him. He never allowed for anyone to be human, to make mistakes, to have a bad day. He never forgot a wrong done to him, and he never let go of anything. Over time it ruined him. It ruined his health, his friendships, and his relationships with his family. My father died mad.” I thought that was sad, but ultimately if you collect grievances that will become your fate. You will live mad and die mad. Forgiveness is God’s antidote to bitterness. When you forgive, you give up your right and desire for revenge and to get even. Let God handle that. When you forgive you’re choosing not to let the hurts of your life keep on hurting you. Forgiveness is the pathway to peace. Grievance collecting is the pathway of bitterness and even greater hurts. I love the way The Message translates Hebrews 12:15, “Don’t let bitterness take root in you.” Is there someone that you need to forgive? Today would be a good day to do that.
– Dr. Tim Thompson