Forgiveness, the Gift We Give Ourself

(Read in:02)“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness, he will bring forth justice.” ~Isaiah 42:3

I owe thanks to my daughter for sharing this scripture with me on Sunday morning. She suggested that it ties in well with my current  interest obsession. I’ve been riveted by the message of forgiveness and grace ever since came to my attention. And, since the book People of the Second Chance arrived on my doorstep, I’ve been engrossed in it and talking about it to anyone who will listen. I believe the message holds a key to a happier life and is a critical part of the process of becoming the best possible version of ourself.

How forgiveness should be

The passage from Isaiah describes the incredible patience and tenderness of a forgiving God. The accompanying commentary refers to the way God will “foster and cherish and feed the spiritual life, all but extinguished.” He will prop up and support the reed and “rekindle the wick of a lamp with oil till it burns brightly again.”

The bruised reed and the smoldering wick are great metaphors for those difficult times. Those times when we feel circumstances have beat us down or as if our light had grown dim. We have all experienced dark passages as we travel through life.

At times, we have to forgive ourselves and recognize that those times do not define who we are. This can be extremely difficult. If we believe we are not worthy of forgiveness, it can cripple us. At other times we need to forgive someone else, someone who may have done terrible harm to us or inflicted tremendous pain. Forgiveness is not something we offer because the person who hurt us necessarily deserves it, but rather because the burden of unforgiveness is simply too much for us to carry.

“Forgiveness will unleash a power in your life that is underrated and often ignored”

That’s a tagline from another book in my queue, Everybody needs to Forgive Somebody by Dr. Allen Hunt. Here’s what the description has to say about this title:

“Forgiveness is underrated mainly because it is underused. We fail to capture the power of forgiveness because we are afraid of it, because we have grown comfortable in our familiar wounds, or because we are sinfully stubborn.”

“Give forgiveness and you will unleash a flood of grace on yourself and on those around you……… Replace your clenched fist with an open hand and watch as God fills your soul to overflowing.”

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”~Mahatma Gandhi





  • Grant Newbold

    Betty. Thanks for your words of wisdom on forgiveness. I appreciate and value you perspective which is enlightened by your strong spiritual base and beliefs. I just want to add that there is also a strong psychological basis for forgiveness that compliments the spiritual perspective. Together they make a very strong case that forgiveness is important and that it changes things for the better. The psychological perspective is often related to forgiving those who have caused us psychological harm. It is important to note that forgiving an abuser is not the same as condoning their abuse because abuse is wrong! The forgiveness that is the focus of the psychological perspective is very much for the healing of the person who suffered the abuse and not for the abuser. It also does not require that the abuser acknowledge their wrong or apologize to the person harmed or that the victim even confront the abuser in any way. Often is it psychologically harmful to the victim to confront the abuser and if we wait for the abuser to repent, even when they are confronted, there can often be no forgiveness because they frequently deny the abuse ever happened or blame the victim for the abusive acts. However, you are very right that forgiveness is important and it has many forms that all need to by honored. Thanks again. Doc Newbold.

    • Betty Streff

      Unforgiveness is simply a burden too heavy to bear. It has been said it is like drinking poison hoping the other person will die.

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