I woke up one Tuesday morning to the devastating news of yet another terrorist attack on our nation. Young lives lost at the hands of evil whilst enjoying a live concert in Manchester. The youngest, only 8 years old.
Along with many, my heart broke. Seeing pictures posted on social media by parents looking for their children not knowing if they’re dead or alive.
I then turned to my daily devotional which was titled “Forgiveness & Healing.”
Right there it hit me between the eyes. This wickedness opens the door to complete destruction. Not only are we left with pain, sadness and sorrow but the potential of unforgiveness.
Jesus talks strongly and clearly about forgiveness.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6: 14-15 NLT).
It’s hard to swallow when you’re faced with this level of evil, but the devil is clever. He knows the destruction he can bring through bitterness, rage, anger and unforgiveness. He can even make it last through generations.
Scientifically, unforgiveness can take it’s toll on the body.
Dr. Michael Barry says, “Harbouring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety,”
He explains. “Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer.”
It’s imperative that we don’t let this external destruction also bring internal destruction because unforgiveness will eat you alive.
As one person said,
“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die.” Marianne Williamson
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.
In the days that followed this horrendous attack, I was amazed by how Manchester responded. Posters and placards were put up around the city reading, “LOVE NOT HATE.”
Their message was clear and scriptural even if they didn’t realise it…
“Never repay anyone evil for evil. Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ROMANS 12:17-18, 21 AMP
It felt like God was shining His light on this city as people stood shoulder to shoulder with the same message, “Love not hate.” Artists gathered for a concert from around the world joining together with one theme, and as one artist put it so well, declared from the platform…
“God is good is the midst of the evil. God is good in the midst of the darkness. He loves you.” Justin Bieber
For those who have lost loved ones through HATE…My prayer is that in their sorrow they will find comfort from Jesus. From the one who forgave those that betrayed Him, spat on Him, hated Him and crucified Him. The one who weeps with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn.
“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs 10:12 NIV
I want to leave you with some remarkable stories of people who have chosen to forgive in the toughest of situations.