There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence..
Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, 'You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. But It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound will still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Please forgive me if I have ever left a 'hole' in your fence.
The person I received this from opened their message with, I truly want to be forgiven if I have ever left a hole in your fence!!! Their emphatic declaration led me into the story as a wave of forgiveness washed through me.
I have no grudge with the sender nor harbor any ill will towards them and yet the words alone "I want to be forgiven", just like the words "I'm sorry" has the effect of cool water over burning embers.
Requesting, offering and bestowing forgiveness is the key to healing; hearts, ruptured relationships, broken families and tattered souls for all parties involved. Forgiveness breaks up the bitter, disolves the hatred and begins the healing process when it is sincerely requested, offered and given.
Louis Zamperini, a POW from WWII has a powerful testamony about his choice to forgive, "(he) felt total forgiveness towards all who had hurt and tortured him in the prison camps. One of his favorite themes is "forgiveness," and he has visited many of the guards from his POW days to let them know that he has forgiven them."
We have to humble ourselves and often give up our 'right' to be hurt or offended in order to say, "I forgive you" or "I'm sorry", or "Please forgive me." It is the first, and many times the most difficult step toward laying down a burden and accepting the joy that comes from that release.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.