If You Think You Can’t Forgive
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
─ Psalm 103:11-12
After serving 24 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, 43-year-old Shaurn Thomas was released from prison in May 2017. And if anyone has a right to be angry, it’s him. He told everyone he could that he was innocent. No one believed him. So he tried harder and did everything he could to prove that he wasn’t the man responsible for the terrible crime.
Twenty-four years is a long time to think behind bars. He could have spent that time planning revenge on those who had wrongfully convicted him. He could have burrowed deeper into anger and let that bitterness consume him.
Instead Shaurn told reporters this. “I don’t got no animosity towards nobody. Life’s too short for that. I just move on forward. It’s a tragedy that happened to me, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.”
Most of us haven’t been wrongfully convicted of a crime, but we may have been wrongfully talked about behind our backs. Or maybe we’ve been lied to or betrayed. We each have a choice. Will we stew in the anger this causes or will we forgive? The Bible is abundantly clear about what we’re to do. Forgive. And that’s not always easy.
When it’s hard to forgive, let’s look to the One who forgives us every day. Not only does God forgive our pride and our envy and our anger, He removes them from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). That’s a long way.
And when our sins are gone, it’s easier to forgive others. When we do, maybe we’ll have something to say like Shaurn. “I feel wonderful, a free man. I can’t feel any better. Hey man, just got to believe in God, and have the right legal team.”
Today’s One Thing
Take a moment and check your heart right now. Are you harboring resentment or unforgiveness? Ask God to help you let go completely and forgive freely.