Forgiveness unleashed          Send a link to a friend

By Stacey Martin

[July 24, 2007]  I frequently listen to Christian radio on my way to work. One story in particular caught my attention recently. It was a story of what I consider to be forgiveness unleashed. A young man in high school was drag-racing one day when his vehicle ran into a mother and daughter who were in another automobile. The accident was horrible, as you can imagine. The mother and daughter lost their lives that day, and a man lost his wife and child.

To unleash, according to Webster, copyright 1951, means to free from or as from a leash. And we all know what a leash is. According to Webster, it is a cord as for a dog. I have a couple of dogs who aren't all that well-trained. When we let them off the leash they literally run wild. What I want you to consider is what it means to let loose of forgiveness. What does it mean to unleash forgiveness and watch it run wild?

In Paul's letter to the Colossians, he discusses the characteristics of our calling. In chapter 3 Paul says we are to lay aside anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech from our mouths. He goes on to say that we shouldn't lie to one another, since we laid aside the old self, with its evil practices, and put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge, according to the One who created us. We are asked to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone. Just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

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A father lost his daughter and his wife that fateful day. The story went on to say that he pleaded with the court to not sentence the young man to prison. With grief that many of us cannot imagine, this man released his rein over forgiveness. Instead, this man asked the court if the young man could go from high school to high school telling the story. He let go of the leash, or the cord, that held back forgiveness.

Isn't that just what Paul asks us to do in the third chapter of his letter to the Colossians? It appears to be an easier-said-than-done task. So how do we get to that point of being able to forgive what seems on the surface to be unforgivable? Where do we turn for words of wisdom, God's wisdom? God's word points us in the direction we need to head.

Ephesians 4:31-32 says it best: "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

[Stacey Martin]


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