Think about the man who has covered his wounds with pride. He puts it up like a protective, defensive wall – so that no one can ever hurt him like that again. He moves through life as though with a sword drawn and a pride-shield in place, almost daring any to try to hurt him again. Often the people he comes into contact with end up feeling bruised and hurt themselves, not realizing the defensive wall and even outright attacks they have encountered are the result of his pride-covered wounds. In the process, they become wounded themselves, and may end up with their own shield of pride. Soon many are afflicted with festering wounds they have sought to bandage with pride.
Of course, pride can’t heal the man's wounds. On the contrary, it allows the wounds to fester and to grow all sorts of sympathetic emotional problems – anger, bitterness, self-pity, fear, stubbornness. There is also a sort of self-righteousness – an attitude he carries that says, “I’m justified in my behavior because of what has happened to me in the past.” The root of bitterness has grown into the tangled mess of a crippled soul. All because of something that happened in the past, and an unwillingness to let it go, and to forgive.
God sees under the man’s protective covering of pride. He sees the festering wounds as well as the pain, and He sees the crippled soul. His answer for this man is to forgive. He knows that for his own soul to be well, and free from all the crippling effects of unforgiveness, he has to forgive.
The man will ask, “But what that person did to me – I can’t just let him get away with it, can I?”
But God would say to the man, “Let him get away with it. Don’t penalize him. Leave retribution to Me.” Retribution is God’s business. He can handle it. Man cannot. Man only becomes crippled in his soul when he determines to repay evil.
Man has a choice – forgive and live free from unforgiveness – or, don’t forgive, and carry a weight he cannot bear. Let bitterness steal joy and replace it with sorrow. Let it steal peace and replace it with heaviness of the soul. Let it steal mercy and replace it with vengeance.
What if this man chooses to forgive? It won’t be easy, will it? No, it won’t, but here is a question for him: Who is the empowering force if the man refuses to forgive? Satan. Who is the empowering force if he chooses to forgive? The Holy Spirit. God never asks the man to do anything in his own strength. The strength to do the will of God comes from God. Through prayer and thanksgiving, all things in Jesus’ name, and soon the man will recognize the change in himself. He will find himself being, like his Father, full of mercy and grace. He will have peace and satisfaction, and he will know his soul is healed.
Amen! And what a joy it is when the soul is healed. I love the subtle way of making the wounded realizes that to carry the weight of unforgiveness is only hurting self and promoting a creating a chain of wounded soldiers. And even better, the way you encouraged 'the wounded' to leave veangeance to God. I relate well to this article as it bears so much resemblance to what God has currently called me to. Beautifully written.