Change a life?
Heal a mind?
Melt a hard heart?
Satisfy a spirit?
Did you answer love? That would be right, but there's another answer.
Before I go on, let us have a quick look at what forgiveness is.
Also, I like the way these people put it:
To pardon; to remit, as an offense or debt; to overlook an offense, and treat the offender as not guilty. The original and proper phrase is to forgive the offense, to send it away, to reject it, that is, not to impute it, [put it to] the offender.-Webster's 1828
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ― C.S. Lewis
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ― Mark Twain
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ― Corrie ten Boom
Now I shall tell you a story.
A little while ago, in a land not-so-far-away, there was a little girl. Her father was a wicked man. He did many things that were wrong- things that hurt the heart of his wife and daughter, and others around him. This made him angry and resentful of anything that was innocent, including his wife and little girl.
One day, because he was such a bad man, he left his wife and little girl to go do whatever he wanted to. Her mama was hurt and betrayed, yet believed it to be for the better. It was hard, but they were happy together, for her Mama loved God, and didn't let the hard, ugly things penetrate her heart, causing it to become hard and ugly. Instead, she forgave.
But the little girl didn't. She kept remembering the mean things her father had said. They way he acted when he was angry. They way he drank all the time. And while these things had hurt her, by remembering them, the little girl let them grow bigger, uglier, darker and stronger. It was like a weed now, with its roots in a knot around her heart. She became an ugly, dark person. Nothing made her happy, nothing gave her peace. Even those blessing that should have brought her joy, contrasted blatantly with the blackness of herself, that she inwardly recoiled from them and the people that could most help her.
Many good things were happening to the little girl. Her mama married a man who loved her, and her little girl, very much. He began to fight for the right to be the little girl's father. Like a knight in shining armor, he rescued the little girl from a knight of darkness. He showed her what a father's love really was. Also, God gave the little girl sisters and brothers. And each one meant the world to her. In the end, her new father adopted her, and they never heard from the wicked man again.
In spite of all these blessings, the girl insisted on nursing her wounds with bitter poison. She came to hate herself, her life and especially her father. She would lay awake at night and think of ways to hurt him physically, mentally and emotionally. She desperately wanted him to feel the pain she felt. She never noticed the evil that had taken hold on her. She didn't realize what she was doing to herself. Like a child playing peek-a-boo, she believed that if she couldn't see the evil, it must not be there. By the time she was a young lady, her heart was almost completely made of stone. If nothing could touch her, nothing could hurt her. But nothing could help, either.
Then one day this girl had a wake-up call. What good was it hate and ruin your life over someone who you would, in all likelihood, never see again? Who was actually at the root of all the pain? She was shocked to realize that there was only one person who let the anguish go on this long. Herself. The girl went on her knees and begged God to help her forgive. To rip out the vine of bitterness that had so long entangled her heart. She didn't know how to go about forgiving, and when she asked, a still, small voice whispered: "pray for him". And so she did. It wasn't easy to ask God to save the man she had spent 11 years hating with every fiber of her being. When she did, though, she felt the hand of God comforting her, pouring oil into her wounds. Gently and kindly healing her. Nothing would be the same. Joy flowed from every corner. A new light shone through. While the girl would struggle with bitterness again, never would it dominate her like it had. She had a new way to channel the pain-into the hands of a loving Father.
The real beauty of this story is that it is 100% true. It is my story; I don't believe I've ever told it before. It has been healing to put it down, and I hope it encourages you to forgive. Because forgiveness does set souls free, change lives, heal minds, melt hearts and satisfy the spirit. Your soul/life/mind/heart/spirit. Though I never see that man again, I can move on because of forgiveness. Don't underestimate its power.