In the following parable, I am exploring the bitter fruits of unforgiveness. I have personally experienced how destructive it can be when unforgiveness is left unchecked in your heart and I have also experienced how wonderful and freeing forgiveness can be.

    Let me be perfectly clear. I do not believe that forgiving someone is, in any way, condoning their actions. It has nothing to do with that. I am commanded to forgive, because I have been forgiven. When I am obedient in this; when I forgive those who did me harm even though they do not deserve it, I am simply removing myself from the position of judge and acknowledging that I, too, have been the recipient of forgiveness that I did not deserve.


Years ago, I offended and hurt you. I slapped you in the face. I mocked you and injured you. I stole your innocence and I murdered your dreams. There was no obvious reason for my cruelty and I possessed no apparent remorse.
    I was heartless and callous.
    You were damaged and scarred, and then I was gone.
    It was no small thing. You carried the fresh wound for many months and then the wound slowly closed to form a hardened scar. A scar that crippled you.
    It even distorted your reflection in the mirror.
    From time to time an event would trigger a mental movie of what I had done. It would play and play again in your mind and a question kept rising from your heart to your lips. An unanswerable question.
    A soft voice would always speak one word in the corner of your mind,
    Usually the mental movie would drown out the soft voice.
    Sometimes the memories would cause an angry outburst and your heart would race, your palms sweat and you would cry out through clenched teeth,
    “Why! Why!”
    Sometimes it would cause a pain in your heart that ignited a flood of tears and you would whisper and gasp,
    The soft voice would, again, speak just one word.

    Over the years, the tide of joy has slowly been ebbing farther away and the waves of hope disappearing, replaced by a stifling blanket of dry sand stretching out before you. Somewhere on the distant horizon you sometimes see the faint glimmer of an unattainable sea. That same question echoes in your mind,
    The soft voice is still faithfully replying,
but you rarely hear it any more.
    Lips chapped with the hot sun of oppression.
    Echoes of guilt lectures continually erode the coast of innocence and hope, and
blame fingers
tear at the very core of faith and trust.

those bitter years marched slowly past you, the memory of my terrible deeds faded from your mind and blew away, like dead leaves, but the scars remained and the pain increased. The acrid fruit of unforgiveness ripened, like Eve’s evil apple, blackening your blood and stealing your life.

    Distant waves come and go
and shape the shoreline
somewhere, on an unattainable horizon.
    Shifting sands and terrible memories
dance and suffocate like
heat waves and mirages, all around.
    The faint booming of breakers
goes mostly unheeded in the misty distance.
    Sibilant, besieging voices
screech their curses in your ears
asking, hounding, even demanding
the same tormenting and unanswerable



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