by Bill Peters
Principle 6 of Celebrate Recovery: Evaluate all of my relationships; offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I have done to others except when to do so would harm them or others.
Happy are the merciful. Matthew 5:7 Happy are the peacemakers.” Matthew 5:3 (Step 8, 9)
Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way. 1 Samuel 24: 5-7 (NIV)
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 (NIV)
There is something different about animals and men with regard to vengeance. Animals do not have a conscience or a spirit which comprehends the idea of vengeance. But men have a conscience and soul given by God which permits us to love and hate. Recovery of a person’s heart and mind to sanity and wholeness comes much by the principles of forgiving others and asking forgiveness from others. David could have killed Saul because of the hurt, the harm and the threats that he had received from King Saul. Saul was still wanting to kill him when David secretly got so close to Saul that he was able to cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. But David recognized that it was God’s right and plan to take care of Saul and his sinful ways and not David’s. I know I have had many occasions in which I have been hurt and I felt the need for vengeance or the need to get even. God has another recovery plan and that is to forgive others and make amends as practical to others to whom I have harmed. Here are some approaches that help me along the road to forgiveness of others along with scriptures to support. These are, in part, from the book “Life’s Healing Choices” by john Baker
1.Relinquish your right to get even and put it all in God’s hands. “Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it.” The first step to forgiveness is to commit to not take justice into your own hands. Let God be the impartial judge. Romans 12:19 (TLB),
2.Refocus on God’s purpose for your life and not your own narrow view. “Put your heart right, reach out to God…then face the world again, firm and courageous. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more.” Job 11: 13-16 3.
3.Respond to the evil with good words and actions towards those who have hurt you. “Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” There’s a lot of evil in this world. You don’t overcome it by criticizing it. You overcome it with good.” Romans 12:21 (NIV)
Mercy and peace can be found in applying these three approaches to forgiveness. It takes a prayerful, God-trusting, Christian to apply this principle thoroughly. Forgiveness is the only way to freedom and salvation.