Mr. Rodriguez a member of the ‘Texas seven’ was scheduled to be executed and hours before he was executed chose to write to the family of the police officer he had murdered saying; “…I also realize I owe you a debt I can never fulfill and yet I can indeed offer a form of retribution to at least give you a sense of justice”. A last cry for forgiveness from the family and the hurt he had brought them. He had also written to the judges that there be no further appeal to his case and submitted to his death penalty as a possible pathway to heaven. Rodriguez was executed on Thursday August 14, 2008 by lethal injection.
There is no heart that is so hard that it refuses to seek for forgiveness, yes, even when it’s at the nick of time. What could have driven Rodriguez to that point of seeking forgiveness? What could have made him look at his life one more time and be convinced that he did wrong? What could have made him look at his life more differently than before? What is he was seeking for? Didn’t the killing bring satisfaction? Didn’t the evil that was done bring some form of peace? It is my submission that when the soul of man reconciles within itself and seeks forgiveness the evidence is peace.
I also suggest that when a wrong is committed to another the humane part in us tells us to seek for forgiveness. Inside of us at that moment there is a war. A war between our conscience and our pride. A war caused by the absence of rest, or peace. A war, in search of peace and rest for our weary souls. At the end, it’s what we give power to reign that takes the day; if pride, we walk on like we never wronged anyone, and never to seek forgiveness; if conscience, then we go to the people we wronged an humbly ask that we be forgiven for our wrongs and we walk out of that place free.
Zanda Bonamy in her article “The power of forgiveness says; “…it may be classed as one of life’s mysteries, the healing power of forgiveness on the forgiver and the person being forgiven. Some conflicts create feelings of animosity and rage whereby there is no desire to forgive but ultimately it leaves an indelible mark on someone’s personality”.
I suggest that forgiveness sets us free from an invisible bondage and is done for our benefit and not for the offender. When you verbalize the desire to be forgiven, something inside of you is set free. Something that was previously bound by the invisible cuffs is suddenly let lose. There is a feeling or freedom, of shackles breaking loose, of being set free.
I suggest that forgiveness is the final act of processing anger, indifference or mistakes. When you get to that point where you cannot handle it any more. It is that last resort of dealing with your anger and saying I knew where this began and I’ll deal it.
I suggest that forgiveness is the real value of receiving peace in return for the wrongs done against you, a spiritual transaction takes place – you release the wrongs, the hurts, the pains and in their place you get peace. It is that point of saying my dignity is more important than where I am or what I am facing right now. It is that point of accepting that getting back your life is more precious than any other thing in life.
When the prodigal son took that walk back home after living a squanderer’s life, it took his courage. It was not an easy walk. It was tough for him. Many thoughts ran through his mind, thoughts of rejection, thoughts of ridicule, and thoughts of embarrassment. Yet there was one thing that made him walk on to his father’s house – his past experiences. He was willing to accept being treated less than a son, if anything just to be in the comfort of his father house. He was willing to accept his mistakes and start all over again. He wanted more than anything else to win back his dignity, his personality, his life that nothing could stop him. But he had to release the wrongs he had done, the hurt and agony he had caused.
His father on the other hand was very accommodating; he did not judge him nor do we read of any questioning. He accepted him for who he was, and forgave him. Imagine if there was no forgiveness in that home when the son came back? Imagine if he was not accepted back when he came back? The story would probably have ended with the prodigal son’s death.
Where there is no forgiveness there is antagonism, conversations are in high volumes and anger is exercised freely, with abuse and physical confrontation in chasing sensible words away. Where there is no forgiveness there is no companionship, and there is no friendship. Where there is no forgiveness there is bondage, blame, and absence of happiness. More often than note where there is unforgiveness, the very act that caused that un-forgiveness will be replayed several times sometimes to the detriment of both parties. Where there is no forgiveness the power and control of your life is handed over to the person who wronged you.
When you forgive, you regain control of your life. Forgiving sets you free to regain control over your life. Through forgiveness you regain you dignity and pride.
As we walk through the highways of life, as we encounter people of different races, generations and tribe we will be wronged and we will wrong people directly or indirectly. But let’s be quick to forgive them. It’s easy to point fingers and blame the other party for doing or saying this and that. But let us set them free from our prison of un-forgiveness.
I recall the non Amish milk truck driver who lived with his family among the Amish and without any provocation whatsoever, Charles Carl Roberts IV, carrying three guns and a grudge against God stormed into a one-room Amish schoolhouse, sent the boys and adults outside, barricaded the doors with two-by-fours and then opened fire on a dozen girls. Roberts killed three girls, and critically injured others with two later dying of their injuries, before turning a gun upon himself and committing suicide.
The Amish were angry but they were a forgiving people and quickly forgave him. They gathered together to talk about their anguish. Their forgiveness was immediate and was demonstrated when they reached out to Robert’s wife in a way she had not expected. They showered her with love through her pain and shame and not one of them blamed her for their loss.
This forgiveness worked on the Amish’s resiliency. After the funeral they started to think of what to do with the school. They regained their life back; they regained control of their life and refused to hand it over to anger and frustrations.
When wrong is done to you and you hold on to forgiveness refusing to let go, you become bound. You are imprisoned by your own choices. Whether the other party accepts their mistake or not, that should not worry you, play your part and release what is in your power and you too shall be free.
Most of the time we are afraid to forgive because we fear the other party will repeat the same mistake again. In so doing we place ourselves above forgiving we are too far up there to consider forgiving. But the truth is we are hurting and we are in pain which only can be removes by us forgiving.
More often than not when we have an unforgiving spirit, we end up suffering the more than the person we have not forgiven. Let’s be quick to forgive and we’ll be set free. Let in your heart be nothing less than iforgive.