Breaking the Power of the Unfair

As hard as we try to avoid them, bad things happen to us all—a car accident, an unexpected job loss, a betrayal, or anything that causes a deep disappointment. That’s not good news! The good news is that we don’t have to become the walking wounded, the one who is controlled by the unfairness of what happened. We don’t have to stay offended.

Mrs. Hudson had always been a quiet, unassuming lady, faithful in her desire to please the Lord, always at church—one of the “good people.” But for ten years she had gradually changed. Instead of quiet, she was withdrawn, and her gentle expression had become hard. Inside, she seethed and struggled with hatred. Nights were tormenting, chasing away restful sleep.

She lived in the country outside of a small town where it was common for people to walk on the side of the back roads to a neighbor’s house. One day her 12-year-old daughter was walking home when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver. It was so devastating, and she was so crushed that even after ten years, she could not get rid of the bitterness. Her heart was broken.

Out of desperation for peace she confided her tragic story with her pastor and was faced with the hardest decision of her life. He agreed with her that the girl’s death was senseless and should not have happened. He agreed that justice required the driver to be punished for the crime.

Gently, because of her pain, he explained that she would never have peace until she forgave the driver. She did not need to pardon him. She couldn’t. Pardon can only be given by government for crimes committed. Her forgiving him would not change his consequences.

When a person is pardoned, the penalty for the offense is removed. No more payment or punishment is required. The prisoner is legally set free. Forgiveness emotionally releases the offender from us. The one who forgives is set free.

With angry tears Mrs. Hudson wrestled deep in her soul. That man owed her a debt he could never repay. Even his death would not bring back her daughter. Forgiveness was hard. Something very wrong had happened, and it could not be changed.

Struggling for courage and with huge effort she finally chose to forgive the man who killed her daughter. When she released the debt he owed her into God’s care, she was freed from the control of bitterness.

She took Jesus at His word when He said, “The Spirit of THE LORD JEHOVAH is upon me…he has sent me to heal broken hearts and to proclaim liberty to captives, vision to the blind, and to restore the crushed with forgiveness….” 1

Forgiveness changed Mrs. Hudson’s life dramatically. She slept well at night, smiled easily and often, and even had a glow about her. Her natural shyness would not have kept her from being quick to tell you her story if you struggle with bitterness and a desire for revenge. If that’s you, here’s hope—you can be free.

1 Luke 4:18, Aramaic Bible in Plain English (Jesus spoke Aramaic).