A man, distraught at the murder of his son, stood in the courtroom and shook his fist at the perpetrator. He cried out, “I hope you burn in Hell!”
That night, as he slept, the Lord appeared to him in a dream. He said, ”I’ll grant your request on one condition.”
“Anything!” said the man. “He deserves to suffer forever.”
God said, “He will burn in Hell forever, but you must observe it forever. He will always be in plain view and within earshot of you for all time.”
“Good,” said the man. “I want to have the satisfaction of watching him burn. I hate him with all my heart.”
And so, God granted his wish. In the first few seconds, the man felt a curious mix of recompense and repulsion. Inside of a minute, he was very uncomfortable. Before two minutes were up, he was crying and begging God to shut the sight and sound of the other man’s damnation off. And just as he ran into the fire to pull his son’s murderer out of eternal suffering, he woke up trembling violently and drenched in perspiration.
The man fell onto his knees beside his bed and asked God why he had felt pity for someone he hated so badly.
And God replied, “You cannot ever hurt someone else without hurting yourself. As long as you harbor unforgiveness, you can never be free of the person you hold captive; neither can you be released from the guilt of your own sins. In order to be released FROM him or her, you have to first be the one to turn loose.”
To whom are YOU chained today because of unforgiveness? It is not God’s will for EITHER of you to remain captive! Forgive and be forgiven, release and BE released!
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” Matthew 6:14-15 (MSG)