There is a small painting that I have of a lion and a lamb. They are sitting together, staring off at something we can’t see. They sit side by side in a field of tall grass. Whenever I see this photo of the Loin and the Lamb, I think of forgiveness.
There is a passage in the Bible, found in Luke 6, that says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
When the Bible was translated into the English language, there were at least 16 considerations for the word forgive used in Luke 6:37.
- Let Die
- Put Off
- Let Go
- Set at Liberty
As you can see, this is a wide variety of words. I think if it were done today there would be a much greater choice of words and who knows where it may have landed.
As I considered these choices the word release seemed like a good fit. Release, and you will be released. This understanding of the scripture helped me to personally be able to release those that have hurt me. I’ve been able to let it go.
Going back to the photo, when I quietly view this image it speaks something to me that is hard to explain. I think about what inward characteristics have changed that gives these two animals the ability to lay down together? Whatever was hostile before is peaceful now. The appetite for one to eat the other is gone. The fear of being mutilated or slaughtered has passed. The stage is now set where both can be at peace. (Now, whether they ever do anything together would be a matter of reconciliation.)
Releasing those that hurt you empowers you to go beyond the initial hurt and lead a productive life again.
To release the men that perpetrated my family was a difficult process, but as I worked through my thoughts and feelings, with the help of my counselor, today I’m in a much better place. I didn’t forgive because I felt like he needed or deserved my forgiveness. I released him because it’s the only way to get the pain and anger out of my spirit.
What do you need to release so that you can be released yourself?