Today's Devotional

The Cancer of Unforgiveness (30 June)

Absalom hated Amnon so much for having raped his sister Tamar that he would no longer even speak to him. Two years later Absalom was having his sheep sheared at Baal Hazor, near the town of Ephraim, and he invited all the king's sons to be there. … Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shammah, said, "Your Majesty, they haven't killed all your sons. Only Amnon is dead. You could tell by looking at Absalom that he had made up his mind to do this from the time that Amnon raped his sister Tamar."
2 Samuel 13:22-23, 32

I left my car unlocked for just a few minutes while I ran into the bank. The first thing I noticed when I came back, was that my umbrella was not on the seat where I had left it. Someone had obviously stolen it. The second thing I noticed was an old man wandering around the parking lot. I decided right then that he had stolen my umbrella. I could not just walk up and accuse him, so I just asked him if he had seen anyone near my car. Of course he said no.

For the next few hours the more I thought about this bad old man, the more upset I got. After a while I was more concerned about how I was becoming obsessed with an old man I did not know and who may not even have taken my umbrella. I knew I had to forgive him, even if he was not actually the one who had wronged me. And I needed to forgive him for my own sake, not for his, because of course he had no idea I was upset with him.

Unforgiveness is a kind of cancer. It has a life of its own, many times unrelated to the other realities around. In the case of Absalom and his sister Tamar, a very real sin had been committed. Absalom was right to be angry, and Amnon should have been punished by David his father. But Absalom did not forgive. He even planned revenge, and the thing ate away at him for two whole years until it broke out in a sin at least as bad as Amnon's, the sin of murder.

We need to learn to forgive even when we are not sure who harmed us or even if a real harm was done. If we do not forgive, we will get sick inside, a spiritual cancer eating away at us and causing us to sin. If I refuse to forgive someone, it will ultimately hurt me more than it will hurt them.

- 30 JUNE -

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