She came into my office holding a crumpled letter. She stared at the floor for a while, and then said, “I can’t get beyond this. I can’t forget what she said to me.”
I asked for clarification. “This letter,” she said. “The things she wrote in it. They’ve destroyed my life.”
“How long have you had the letter?” I asked.
“Three years,” she said.
“How many times have you read it?” I inquired.
“Oh, dozens of times,” she said, “maybe more.”
“Give the letter to me,” I said.
“What? Give it to you?” she responded incredulously.
“Yes, give it to me.”
“What will you do with it?”
“What I do with it isn’t nearly as important as what you do with it,” I said. “Give the letter to me.”
Slowly, reluctantly, with trembling hand, she reached across my desk and handed over the letter; then she began to weep.
After awhile I said, “Now that you’ve given up the letter, would you be willing to give up the grudge?”
“But you don’t know how she hurt me,” she said.
“You’re right,” I answered, “but you’ll never be released from her until you forgive.”
“But that wouldn’t change what happened.” she protested.
“You’re right," I said, but it might change you.”
She looked at me for a long time, and then said, “I’m willing to forgive her, but how?”
So I led her through a prayer of forgiveness.
After a few minutes she looked up and smiled. “I feel lighter,” she said. “I feel at peace.”
“You should,” I explained, “Because forgiveness, when it is least deserved, has true, healing power.” (1)
She nodded her head. “I’ll remember that,” she said. Then she thanked me and left. She never mentioned the letter again.
(1) Forgive and Love Again, John Nieder and Thomas Thompson, Harvest House Publishers, 2003, p. 60