Life is not fair. People may mistreat us, cheat us, and violate our personhood. We have one of two responses. One is to get revenge – the other is to forgive.
Shania Twain, at age 45, discovered that her husband, Robert “Mutt” Lange, and her best friend, Marie-Anne Thiébauld, were involved in an affair. She confronted her best friend Thiébauld. She said, “I had a total panic attack. I just told her that she was a bad person – that’s all I could get out!”
She then lost her voice. She developed dysphonia, a condition in which spasming vocal cords make singing impossible. Her inability to deal with her unfaithful friend became her trauma. She kept writing ugly letters. She would ask her why she was torturing her and she constantly encouraged her to find somebody else to love.
Revenge will most often lead to physical and psychological problems. The one who suffers most in revenge is the one initiating the revenge. Shania says that she is working at her relationships and has slowly been finding her voice again.
Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca are 73-year-old former Canadian Football League players. They were recently attending a promotional event to heighten the awareness of concussion injuries suffered by Canadian Football League players.
Back in 1963 Kapp and Mosca had a big misunderstanding and exchanged some blows. They have continued to badmouth each other for the last 48 years. They both have looked for opportunities to get revenge.
At the banquet, Joe Kapp took a decorative flower off of the banquet table and walked over to Mosca and taunted him. Mosca took his walking stick and hit Joe Kapp across the head. Joe Kapp stepped back and unloaded on Mosca, knocking him off the stage. The whole situation was amusing and sad. Here were two 73-year-olds still carrying a grudge for 48 years! Both of them said they would “never forget.”
Last month a Quebec man put a 20-ton boulder in the driveway of his ex-wife. Danny Lariviere explained to the police that during their ten year marriage his ex-wife always complained that he didn’t give her “a big rock.” Now she couldn’t complain anymore!
Jesus spoke very simply when He said that we need to learn to forgive. Regardless of how bad someone has mistreated us, the only healthy response is forgiveness.
Jesus said, “If you forgive other people their sins, God will forgive you. If you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14, 15)
A forgiving spirit cannot be dispensed by a doctor in a prescription. Forgiveness is the only medicine that will bring healing, health and wholeness. You can’t buy insurance to take care of injustices – the only remedy is forgiveness.
Don’t lose your voice, or get in a fight, or instigate a bad trick. Forgive! The forgiven are always forgiving!