Harsh language St Johns fl Presbyterian churchSeveral years ago, there was a brutal attack on a small Amish school house. Most of the country was appalled that someone would attack such peaceful people – and helpless children at that.

What really surprised us was the Amish response. They simply refused to hate. One Amish grandfather told his children at the grave site, “Do not think evil of this man.” Elders from the community told the family of the murderer, “You don’t need to leave this area. Stay in your home here. We forgive this man.”

Their response definitely raises the question: could I be so forgiving? The truth is, I don’t know. But I do know that forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel. That’s what the cross is about. That’s how God has dealt with us.

I also have come to understand that in a very real sense, forgiveness isn’t just about other people – it’s about you and me. If I’m carrying around anger and bitterness and resentment – it is a miserable way to live. And I don’t want what someone else did to me to control my life. I want to be free. I want to be alive. I want to be healthy.

I don’t know what you may be carrying around with you, who you need to forgive. But I pray that you would ask God to help you let go, beginning today.

Let us pray: We hand you our hurt and pain, O God. We give you our anger and resentment. We hand over the people who have hurt us or betrayed us. Take our offering in such a way that we cannot take it back. Help us to let go so that your healing grace has room to work – even now, through Jesus Christ. Amen.