“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14
I watched the most amazing documentary the other day called, “Forgiving Dr. Mengele.” A Holocaust survivor named Eva Mozes Kor found it in her heart to forgive the atrocities that Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele did to her and her family and many, many others at Auschwitz. She was horribly experimented on because she had a twin sister and results of torture could be compared. Her parents and extended family all perished by the hand of Nazis during World War II. Her sister survived to live a long life, but died somewhat prematurely because she was injected with something that gave her the kidneys of a 10 year old. The medical records of Dr. Mengele were never found despite Eva’s many attempts to locate them in an effort to save her sister. It is incredible that Eva could forgive the offenses done against her, her family and the Jewish people.
While trying to find Dr. Mengele’s medical files, she met one of the Nazi doctors named Hans Münch who helped rescue and save some of twins during the war. At the time, Eva was still very upset and had many questions to ask Dr. Münch. She was surprising touched and taken aback by his kindness. After forming a friendship and traveling to Auschwitz with Eva, Dr. Münch publicly apologized on behalf of Nazi doctors to the surviving twins at Auschwitz. After this milestone, Eva then became the first person to publicly forgive all Nazis for what happened. It was a monumental day! She later opened a museum in Indiana (where she raised her family) dedicated to her sister and all twin survivors. The museum educates others about the Holocaust. Despite the fact it later burnt down in a hate crime, spurring awful memories of the past, she resurrected it once more. She educates people now all of the world about what happened during the Holocaust and shares the message and power of forgiveness.
Most of the other surviving twin victims have not forgiven. Eva feels peace and freedom and has accomplished so much in her life. The other victims have not found peace or happiness. They are angry, bitter, upset, resentful and unsettled. They say there are “certain conditions” necessary before they can forgive, that the true perpetrators of the crimes committed must all be present, or they say it is not their place to forgive at all. They are so hurt and so scarred by what happened them, and they live somewhere between past and present.
How about you? Where do you personally stand when it comes to forgiveness? It is hard to be the first to say, “I forgive you” when it feels like the person who hurt you should be the one to do it. It takes humility and courage and strength to forgive people that have wronged you. It is scary because you don’t know how the other person will react when he or she hears those words. You don’t even know how you will react. Satan lies to us and tells us that it’s easier to keep going without making amends. He tells us it won’t do any good whatsoever if we forgive. Things will remain status quo and that’s okay.
It’s not okay. It’s never okay!
Jesus came down from heaven and died upon the cross and forgave all of humanity for the offenses committed against God. He requires that we forgive others when they sin against us, no matter how many times they commit an offense. Failing to forgive will ultimately hurt you. It will gnaw and eat at you. It will usurp your happiness and steal your joy. You will slowly become numb to the Holy Spirit as He prompts your heart. God will not be able to use you effectively if you cannot forgive. You will harbor feeling of anger, bitterness, resentfulness, pride and hate, which God will not overlook. No, failing to forgive has consequences. You will not be the same person you once were before you decided not to forgive. You will be a remnant of your former self. The glory of God will not shine upon you, in you, and around you. You will become like those of the world. You will give the devil a stronghold. Be careful!
If you find it hard to forgive someone today, then first remember that you not perfect. God died for you and forgave YOU. You may feel you are a better person than the one you must forgive. You might think that you would never do something so awful as that person did you. You may feel that this person doesn’t deserve your forgiveness. Just remember that your Heavenly Father who is blameless and holy forgave you of your sins. Now you feel freedom. Give someone else a chance to feel freedom too. Lift the weight from your shoulders and theirs too.
You and I are living examples of Jesus Christ. If you cannot find forgiveness in your heart, that you aren’t being a good witness. There is no room in your heart for the love of God and the anger, and bitterness and resentfulness you have allowed residence there. They cannot be roommates. Evict these evil things and let God have your whole heart! You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not ever forget that your mind and your body are not your own. They were bought at a price. Paid with the blood of Jesus Christ. You belong to God, and He needs you to forgive so He can have all of you. Forgive and be free today!
Pray this Prayer: “Dear Lord, thank you for forgiving me of my sins. Thank you for the freedom I have in Jesus Christ. Please help me to live by your example and forgive those who have wronged me. Give me the courage and strength to do what is right and to make amends, so that I may have peace and so that You can have the whole of me to do as You will. I love you Lord, and I want to be merciful, kind and loving to others, including my enemies and those who have wronged me. I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Amen.”