Many of us are aware o the unconditional love and how important it is to the health of our mind, body, and spirit.
I believe that unconditional love is the "greatest healer." As scriptures tell us love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
Our role is to imitate the life of Jesus Christ through humility, love, and forgiveness.
Jesus Christ set the bar high. He was ridiculed, hated, scourged, crown with thorns and hung on the cross. Yet while on the cross, he pleaded, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
His forgiveness was immediate and unconditional.
In the book of Mathew, Peter asks Jesus how many times one must forgive, up to seven times? Jesus answered I tell you not 7 times but 77 times (Mathew 18:21-22). Jesus simply tells us that we must always forgive. This is not easy. There are consequences and justice to be served for those who trespass against us. The Lord's Prayer is clear in that our trespasses are forgiven as long as we forgive those who trespass against us. We do not get to pick and choose who we forgive. We must forgive all as the Lord forgives us. God's undeserved mercy (forgiveness) is a gift to us, a gift we must freely give to others.
In the book of Genesis, Esau lost his birthright and his father's blessing to his younger brother Jacob. Fearing for his life, Jacob ran to live with his Uncle Laban. Years later, God spoke to Jacob and told him to return to the land of his father. God promised Jacob, "I will be with you." (Genesis 31:3). Jacob sent messengers to Esau that he was returning home. Jacob prepared for the worst, and Esau greeted Jacob with a huge hug! God answered Jacob's prayer and kept his promise to be with him. Just as important, Esau forgave his brother unconditionally.
Also in the book of Genesis, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. Joseph became in charge of Pharaoh's palace. He was reunited with his brother's during a severe famine where he ultimately forgave his brothers, realizing his purpose in life. His brothers were fearful that Joseph would seek revenge upon their father’s death and asked Joseph to forgive their crime. Joseph broke into tears. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the savings of many lives (Genesis 50:20).
Immaculee Ilibagiza is a modern day example of love and forgiveness. She survived the Rwandan holocaust in 1994. In time she was able to confront those who killed her family members. She would turn to the source of all true power: She would turn to God and let his love and forgiveness protect and save me. To truly survive physically, emotionally and spiritually- she would need to let go of her anger and learn to forgive. In a dream, she heard her deceased brother say, “You must love, and you must forgive those who have trespassed against us.” The final turning point was when Immaculee went to a prison to visit the gang leader who had murdered her parents and brother. Their eyes met briefly, she touched his hands and said, “I forgive you.” She was asked by a friend, why did you forgive him? Immaculee replied, “Forgiveness is all I have to offer.” She has helped many forgive the unforgivable.
In June of 2015, shortly after nine members of a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina was killed the relatives of the people slain spoke directly to the accused gunman at his first court appearance. Their message was not in anger, but they offered him forgiveness and were praying for his soul as the gunman showed no remorse.
Forgiveness is the key to unlocking God’s miracle power and transforms anger and hurt into healing and peace. It is a choice. Forgiveness is for you and you alone. There is absolutely nothing that is impossible to forgive with God’s help. God Bless you all!