William Shakespeare once wrote in the Merchant of Venice: “The quality of mercy is not strained, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:”
In church, as the minister spoke last Sunday, I was reminded of this quotation from the literature of my high school years. Back then my focus was purely academic as I plowed through the pages of the play, trying to get into Shakespeare’s head; trying to figure out.what the characters represented, so as to pass the test that was sure to come after each chapter.
I remember memorizing the lines as a teenager, and surprised myself on Sunday, that after all the years between then and now, I could still remember the lines and repeat them along with the minister. But on Sunday the focus was on forgiveness as a way of demonstrating MERCY. Never quite looked at it like that before. Usually I considered that MERCY is something that God’s shows by his unconditional love and attention to all persons. However, by looking at MERCY in the form of forgiveness, as something that we should consider shearing with another, regardless of what they have done: that did not always come to mind. It was clear that the message was focused on demonstrating mercy for others regardless of how they have hurt us and we must do it often; 70 times 7. So, how do we do that?
I came up with a formula that I hope will make sense to you. I call it the “4 R’s of clearing the heart of un-forgiveness.”
1] Rebuke the situation, hurt or difficulty. Tell your heart that it has no ability to hurt you.
2] Release the person or thing into God’s care. He knows the whole story and you may not. Because he is omniscient, He has an understanding of the entire situation, including the heart of the person who has done you wrong. God is the One to takes care of the situation. This is called surrendering to a power that is greater than you.
3] Recover, and as one of my daughters would says; Recover, Recover, Recover. That means, tell yourself to recover, as many times as you need to, so that your heart and soul can hear you..Words have power and as you send them out, they will not return to you void; they will accomplish that to which you have sent them! (inspired by Isaiah the Prophet)
4] Rejoice because you no longer have the burden. You have handed it over to the Power that is greater than you. In time you will come to live with that knowledge, so that fear and hurt can be dealt with in this way always.
So the MERCY of forgiveness empties your heart of the burden of the hurt; because that first blessing is yours and as you forgive the person or situation, they are also blessed. The act of that MERCY is twice blessed: it blesses him that gives and him that takes. Use this as a cleansing shower for your heart, soul and spirit, and be blessed.