1 John 2:9 – Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. (NIV)
In high school, I was editor of the school newspaper. This was the position that gave purpose to my life. One day, a classmate and I had a disagreement. I can't remember what prompted it, but she attacked me in the spot that was most vulnerable — my precious paper and the writing I did for it. This shattered my self-esteem, and I was barely able to function. I felt that what she had done to me was unforgivable. And I hated her.
I had joined the church, committing my life to Christ, a year earlier, so in my darkness and despair, I began praying, asking God to deal with my feelings. A few days later, this person came to me and apologized, saying that she should not have said such hurtful things.
That day, many years ago, I learned a valuable lesson. I can still feel the burden of hate and resentment as it left me, and the light of love and forgiveness as it washed over me. We stood there in the school hall embracing, crying, and rejoicing in the wonderful feelings we were experiencing.
She left the area after graduation. I haven't seen her since, but any time her memory crosses my mind, I feel full of love and light.
Christ, through her, taught me the value of forgiveness that day. I have never hesitated to go the second mile in obtaining forgiveness since then. I know the cleansing feeling it brings, and it is great.
1 John 2:11 – But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, enable us to experience the love and the light that replaces the darkness when forgiveness floods our souls and cleanses us. Teach us how to forgive and how to initiate it. Take away our stubborn pride, and help us to make the first move if necessary, to drive away the darkness and let the light of love shine through. Amen.
Listen to this devotional