For if you forgive men when they sin against you,
Your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their sins,
Your Father will not forgive your sins …
Matthew 6: 14-15
Some time ago I was speaking about anger at a men’s gathering. I described resentment as a prison and pointed out that when we put someone in our jail cell of hatred, we are stuck guarding the door. After the message a man introduced himself as a former prison inmate. He described how the guard at the gate of a prison is even more confined than a prisoner. The guard spends his day in a four-by-five-foot house. The prisoner has a ten-by-twelve-foot cell. The guard can’t leave, the prisoner gets to walk around. The prisoner can relax, but the guard has to be constantly alert. You might object and say, “Yes, but the guard of the prison gets to go home at night.” True, but the guard of the prison of resentment doesn’t.
A couple of weeks after I returned home I received this letter from a man named Harold Staub.
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Thank you so much for speaking on forgiveness at Promise Keepers in Syracuse, NY, on June 7 and 8. I was there. Just want you to know I went home, talked to my wife on many subjects about forgiveness—the best two weeks of my life. You see, she went home to be with the Lord on June 24, totally forgiven. How wonderful is his love. Thank you so very much.
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When we called Harold to ask his permission to print his letter, he shared the touching details of his final days with his wife. He didn’t know she was near death, nor did she. He did know, however, that some unresolved issues lay between them. Upon arriving home, he went to her, knelt before her and asked forgiveness for anything he’d ever done. The gesture opened a floodgate of emotions and the two talked late into the night. The initial effort at reconciliation continued for two weeks. The marriage enjoyed a depth not yet known. When Harold’s wife died suddenly of an embolism, he was shocked. But he was ready and now he is at peace.
What about you? Would you like some peace? Would you like assurance that God forgives you? I think you know what you need to do.
by Max Lucado
From From The Great House of God