Forgiveness may seem like a strange topic to write about but it is so crucial to success in life, in relationships, in business that I decided to tackle it. In fact, it may be one of the most important success and wisdom keys that exist.
We all hear about loving others and living in peace with them but the picture that word “love” conjures up is a very emotional, romantic concept that most of us don’t really understand, much less know how to implement! If we add the word “unconditional” to love, it begins to take on some meaning. Unconditional implies that forgiveness is being granted to the object of your love on a continual basis.
Why am I thinking so much about forgiveness and its importance?
Last week we got the movie, Despereaux and I was amazed that the most important lesson taught in that movie is, guess what…forgiveness! When we returned that movie to the video store, I picked up another one called, By Jesus’ Side. It’s a cute animated film about a dog who hates humans, but meets Jesus, becomes his friend and learns from him that forgiveness is the key to peace and happiness. So he demonstrates forgiveness by rescuing the mean dog catcher who had tried to kill him.
Coincidentally I had just finished reading the gospel of John last week and was reminded again that Jesus’ words on the cross were, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
And to add one more log to the fire of forgiveness, my reading this morning was in the book of Acts, chapter 7. That recounts the story of the stoning of Stephen. His last words echoed those of his Master: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
So what does forgiveness really have to do with success in business? Or success in anything, for that matter?
Let me tell you a personal story that may help connect the dots somewhat. Many years ago we were living in a remote village in the Amazon jungle, learning the language of a group of Indians in order to eventually give them at least portions of the Bible in their own language. My husband who is always ahead of his time in terms of technology and innovation, had decided to take a solar panel into the village to provide us with lights and electricity for our tape recorder, etc. The leadership of our mission, however, was of the opinion that solar panels were too high tech and shouldn’t be used in that setting. So there was an enormous misunderstanding and the bottom line was that we became bitter toward the leadership. We felt we were unjustly accused, etc, etc.
Soon after, we were back in the USA, on furlough. We were so bitter toward the leadership of the mission that we had no desire to go back and work under them. We were actively seeking another place to serve. And finances were desperately tight. It was time to go back to the mission field and we had no way to do that. Not only did we need money for airfare, but our monthly support had to be increased to a level that seemed impossible to us. And the bitterness and lack of forgiveness continued.
So one fine Sunday morning we were on our way to share our testimonies of our work at one of our supporting churches. As we drove we popped a cassette tape into our player and the message was on forgiveness. Hmm… We got to the church and the sermon that morning was on…you guessed it – forgiveness! So we made a decision that day to forgive and ask forgiveness and to make an international phone call to do that!
That released the floodgates! That afternoon the missions committee had met and decided to pay our airfare back to the mission field and to increase their monthly support by 10 times. By the following Wednesday we had received enough support pledges to bring our income to the level that was required. We were blown away by the power of forgiveness!
Whether you will experience anything this miraculous or not, I cannot say. But it’s important to realize that forgiving and asking forgiveness can release a lot of emotional energy that had been wasted on revisiting conversations and perceived wrongs. That energy can now be directed to much more productive pursuits.
If you liked this bit of wisdom, please comment, like and share. You never know who you might bless!