What You Miss When You Don’t Forgive

One last wish.

The longing of a dying mother’s heart.

A wish that only one person could have satisfied. But he didn’t.

If you’ve read any of my books, you know that my childhood was a cauldron of violent arguments, alcohol induced rage, and physically terrifying fights. As a child I saw things that a child should never see and heard things that a child should never hear. My parents were a mess.

Their kids were even messier.

But God—my two favorite words in the Bible.

I met Jesus in a powerful way when I was fourteen years old, my mom followed when I was seventeen, and my mean old dad accepted Christ when I was twenty. Our family was a portrait of mercy and grace painted by the hand of an all-loving God.

A lot of forgiveness took place over the next thirty years as God re-shaped and re-molded once hardened hearts.

But not everyone received the gift. Some held it at arms length and said, “No thanks. I’m hanging onto my hate.”

Some chose to cling to unforgiveness and grasp resentment with a tight unrelenting fist. And the gift of grace was refused.

My mom did not get her final wish…to see her son one more time. I was sad for her, but mostly, I was sad for him. He missed the blessing of seeing the miracle of mom’s gentleness, mom’s humble kindness, mom’s overflowing love for her family. He missed the preciousness of her final days.

Friend, I don’t want you to miss out on a single blessing God has for you. Not a one. Nothing will block the flow of grace like an unforgiving heart. [Tweet This]

Unforgiveness is drinking a poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free and realizing the prisoner was you.

Once there was a little boy who had his hand caught in a valuable vase. After many failed attempts to get it free, his father decided the only solution was to smash the vase. But before the hammer came down upon the delicate porcelain, his father said, “Son, let’s try one more time. Open your hand inside the vase, and then bring your fingertips together. Now, try and slide your hand out of the opening.”

Then the boy looked up at his dad and replied, “I can’t, Daddy. If I do that, I’ll drop my penny.”

How many times do we miss out on God’s abundant blessings because we hold onto the pennies?

Resentment.

Anger.

Bitterness.

Entitlement.

Unforgiveness.

Pennies all.

Are you clinging to unforgiveness with a tightly clenched fist that says, “By golly I am not going to forgive that person who hurt me!”? “She/He doesn’t deserve it!”

I am struck with the words of Paul to the Colossians: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Forgiveness is not for the benefit of the person who hurt you. It is for the benefit of the one doing the forgiving.

I don’t want you to miss out on a single one of God’s blessings.

Let go of unforgiveness.

Grab hold of grace.

Be free.

Will you join me?

Your Scars are Beautiful to God      For more on the power of forgiveness, see my book,
  Your Scars Are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Past.

10 Responses to What You Miss When You Don’t Forgive

  1. Charity Johnson November 4, 2014 at 4:32 am #

    This was for me today, in this very moment. God just used you to further remind me of how to live.

  2. Terri November 4, 2014 at 7:30 am #

    Thanks for your beautiful devotional. I cried. Really cried. You see, having my son not forgive me is my greatest sadness and the fact that he may never do so, is my biggest fear. I pray daily, several times a day for our Father to soften his heart. I know that God has a plan, and I do trust that. But I pray freedom for my son. And I would love more than anything else in my life to have reconciliation w him. I have tried everything under the sun and more to “fix” this broken relationship and God has brought me to the end of myself He’s shown me that I all changes in my son will be in His time and in His way. So I pray and I wait and I trust….

  3. Terrie November 4, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    Thank you, I so needed this today. I have been holding on to my pennies of hurt, pain, unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment. I have been wearing a mask and sleepwalking through life. What a wakeup call/alarm this was for me.

  4. Danielle November 4, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    love this. you are so true. how can I translate it to Spanish so I can send it to someone that really needs this article.

  5. Pastor George Allen November 5, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    Sharon, love the word! Great truths! Love the illustrations. I am teaching thru John Bevere’s book “The Bait of Satan” and these are some great illustrations as to how we hold onto an offense!

    Bless you,

    George

  6. Connie November 6, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    Thank you, Sharon, for your wonderful, helpful message!

  7. Shirley December 9, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    WoW!! how was the timing on this one! Needed this…received it ..and need to move on…thank you Sharon!

  8. Reezee December 9, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    Sharon, this hit home! It had been difficult for me to forgive the person who pedge love to me just so I could support him financially. In short, I’ve been used and I’ve been blocking myself to forgive that person because what he did, for me, was not worthy of forgiveness. But I thank God for using you to become the bridge of truth for me. I’ve set myself from the burden of a bitter heart trusting that all things work together for good to them who loves God. Continue in your ministry, Sharon!

  9. Donna February 28, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    Forgiveness for me is difficult. When I think I’ve forgiven, something happens and I get angry again. That anger shows me that I’m still holding on to the same stuff from years ago. How do you let go and forgive and when do you know that it is forgiven? My husband had an affair with another woman for 6 years and I had no idea. Yet I stayed and tried to make it work. I still haven’t forgiven and our relationship has been difficult for me. Sometimes I believe I have but when I get upset with him I bring it up and get angry all over again. So how do you forgive completely, and know that you have?

  10. Eve February 28, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    What a poignant reminder to keep on forgiving; perhaps I’m too sensitive, even when the hurts…even little hurts keep on coming, you just have to keep on forgiving…and it is so freeing!

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