The American sailor got revenge and, possibly, by having bones in his hands broken, problems with them in daily life. The Japanese pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor read a tract written about de Shazer in 1950. He became a Christian and they became good friends, preaching together as Christian missionaries to Japan.
If the sailor had permanent, crippling damage to his hands from beating the Japanese guard, they kept him a prisoner of his hate. Where de Shazer’s forgiveness freed him to leave past issues to focus on future pleasures.
What kind of person will we be? The one remembering slights or offenses and looking for the chance to repay? Or the one who so luxuriates in the pleasure of Christ’s forgiveness he instinctively offers forgiveness he has received? Will we let past mistakes and sins shackle us inside them, or let Christ’s grace free us to be witnesses of his unlimited mercy? Indeed, the message of Jesus from the cross embodies the forgiveness that keeps us from stooping to revenge.
The choice is ours. But...the effectiveness of our Christian witness is determined by our decision to either hang on to what limits us or leave it for what liberates us. And...remember ...the forgiveness of sin others seek from Christ may well be determined by our willingness to forgive them their offenses against us. Fini