Forgiving: A Lenten Possibility

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Unforgiveness will turn you into someone you never intended to be, displaying the attitudes and qualities you detest in others. – Nancy DeMoss

There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness. – Josh Billings

A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers. – Ruth Bell Graham

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22, MSG


I’ve heard some amazing Lenten sacrifices in this year’s offerings, from much-needed radiation treatment for an advancing cancer to finally laying down grief in the loss of a dearly loved parent.

Here’s one I have not heard, although I have no doubt it’s being offered:

How about forgiving?

There are some really great wins and guarantees to our forgiving an offense:

(1) it lessens its intensity

(2) it reduces its frequency of reminding you of the offense

(3) it expands my capacity to (finally!) be a loving, inoffensible person

If we truly see the wealth of what can be gained by simply forgiving, we might not only adopt it as a Lenten possibility, but a lifetime reality.

To fail to extend forgiveness–even to someone who does not request it–puts the offended person in a bunkered-down state. Moving forward is out of the question. There is no future for an unforgiving person, only the baleful reliving of the past. Over and over again. It is deadly toxic and crippling.

Of all the things that choke and poison spiritual growth, resentments are probably the most devastatingly effective.
E. Stanley Jones

Stop living as though someone else is to blame for your life. Get revenge on whoever offended you by letting them out of your debtor’s jail. The joke will be on them. While they think they are getting a reprieve, it will be you who will finally breathe the fresh air and run through fields of wildflowers beneath cobalt skies. Go on, forgive them. Release it. Let it go.

And, for mercy’s sake, move on.


4 thoughts on “Forgiving: A Lenten Possibility

  1. John B says:

    I have heard it said, that “unforgiveness is like drinking a deadly poison and then expecting the other person to die.”


    • pasturescott says:

      Indeed, John. The post was inspired by an interview I watched with the CPO (Chief People Officer) of Florida hospitals. Though he didn’t spend a lot of time on the issue, he did confirm what I’ve learned about cancers and other illnesses being directly tied to bitterness and resentment. God, keep us whole from such!


  2. WOW! This is so true! Corrie Ten Boom said it well, “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and realize the prisoner was you!” This was the inspiration for the following poem, written eight months ago:

    Debtor’s Prison

    The debtor’s prison I am in
    Has neither locks nor bars.
    I do not owe a single cent
    For houses or for cars.
    But obstinately I have failed
    To let go of the past:

    The reason I myself have jailed
    Is others I have cast
    In prison here, along with me
    Those I’ve not forgiven.
    If only I would set them free
    My prison doors would open!

    Oh, who am I to not forgive –
    They wronged me years ago:
    The dear Lord died that I might live
    And His forgiveness know.
    For Jesus cancelled all my debt
    And He asks in return
    I, my debtors, forgive, forget,
    And for their good to yearn.

    So with God’s help, forgive I do,
    I cancel all I’m owed.
    Vindictiveness I now eschew,
    I leave that mean abode.
    To those in Debtor’s Prison still
    This lesson I’ve designed –
    Pay attention, if you will:
    Your prison is your mind!

    Copyright, 2011, by Walter E. Ferguson III. All rights reserved.

    It took me years to learn the lesson of this poem, and I am still learning it. My biggest problem now is forgiving the Radicals in Washington for destroying this nation. But I can see my attitude is undermining my health. I see that unless I forgive them (not vote for them!), I might not survive to the election!
    The greatest weapon the Christian has in his arsenal is love. One component of love is forgiveness. Indeed, it is one of the most important. Has the world ever seen what this weapon can do to Satan’s kingdom? I don’t know. Isn’t it time for the world to see the power of forgiveness?
    II suggest it is time for Christians to baffle the politicians by acting like who they are supposed to be. WWJD? This must be our standard.


    • pasturescott says:

      Perfect addendum to the post, Walter. Your poetry is always welcome here, my friend. That “mean abode” of unforgiveness indeed.

      I am a joyful accomplice with you in this good fight, the holy violence of battling against the arrogance of such. God bless!


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