There is a basic need deep within us for reconciliation rather than resentment.
The American writer Ernest Hemingway wrote the story of a Spanish father who finally decided to reconcile with his son; he had left his home for the city of Madrid. As he did not know where to find him, his father published an ad in the newspaper El Liberal. The ad read the following: Paco, let's meet at the Montana hotel at 12 noon next Tuesday. Everything has been forgiven and forgotten. Signed, Dad.
If you are not very well acquainted with Spanish culture. In Spain Paco is a very common name, and next Tuesday when the father went to the Montana hotel to look for his son he found 800 young people called Paco and each one was waiting for their father.
There is something in us that longs to reconcile with those who have offended us. God did not design us for bitterness. We must remember that forgiveness is essential for those who offend.
One weekend in October 1982, Kevin Tunnell, a 17-year-old, was involved in a traffic accident. He made a pretty stupid decision. He decided to drive and drink at the same time. It collided with another car killing the driver; an 18 year old girl.
Kevin was convicted of manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. He paid his sentence in prison. Even when he got out of jail, he spent seven years campaigning against drunk drivers. Kevin was completely sorry for the foolish decision he had made.
The girl's family sued him for $ 1.5 million, but they settled for $ $936 and for him to pay one dollar at a time, every Friday for the next 18 years. Money was not the case. The family wanted it to be a weekly reminder to Kevin of the day their daughter died.
On four occasions, the girl's parents took Kevin to court because he didn't pay that dollar — and it's not that Kevin didn't want to pay them. It was that damned weekly reminder of the girl's death that haunted him. Kevin offered them a box of 936 dollar checks, to be cashed each week. But the parents refused. It was not the money that the parents wanted, what they wanted was for Kevin to feel excessive sadness. In fact, Kevin spent 30 days in jail for not paying that dollar on a Friday.
Now, none of us would question the parents' courage and anger at having lost their daughter. But the question we must ask ourselves is this: How much is enough? Will 936 one-dollar payments be enough? When the last payment arrives, will it bring peace to the parents? I doubt it. I doubt it because forgiveness is essential not only for those who offend but also for the offended.
When we don't want to forgive, we poison our hearts and minds with bitterness. Bitterness and resentment are harmful to health. It is the contamination of the soul that will embitter your life. And if it can, it will deform it, and worst, it will destroy it, but in both cases it will render it immobile.
It is the bitterness of our pride that prevents us from forgiving others. We think that it is enough that they treat us that way. Pride promotes a vengeful spirit. Pride says, "I will never forgive you for what you did to me."
If you want to be free and free those people who have offended you once and for all. Remember that forgiveness is not an option, it is essential. We must be willing to continue to forgive all injustices.
Be rather kind to one another, merciful, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.