Letting Go of the Rope

Are You a Forgiving Person?

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

The church I grew up in had several buildings, one being over 100 years old.  There was a steeple and a large and loud bell at the top of this building.   For Sunday School to start and sometimes to end, the bell would be rung.  Some years while a teenager in the youth group, for new year events, we would “ring in the new year” on the old bell.  Ringing the bell 95 times for 1995 was terrific!

Attached to the bell was a long rope that hung the entire height of the church building.  From the ground floor a person could look up and hold the rope and with effort, ring the bell.  Once you were able to get the bell started, it made a terrific sound.  If you were close to it, it would hurt your ears it was so loud.

Life will hurt sometimes.  People may “run over us” with no regard.  We may have hurt feelings and emotions from some bad past experiences.  Sometimes we keep ringing the bell of hurt and rehearsing the sound of pain from the past. Could you forgive that person who humiliated you?  Could you forgive the man or woman who verbally or even physically hurt you?  Can you forgive the person that passed over you in position or ministry? By God’s grace, you can forgive.  It is a command from God that we forgive others of their trespasses against us!

Any time you are violated by another person, your faith and what you say you believe is challenged!  To pass the test, you must forgive!  Are there people and events in your past that when something bad happens today, you think of them and something they did to hurt you?  If so, you have not forgiven that person.  If you are keeping a checklist of all the wrongs you have endured, then your heart is not currently forgiving of others.

Listen to what the famous Corrie Ten Boom said after enduring all the affliction and pain the Nazi regime caused her, her family, and the world…

“Corrie ten Boom likens forgiveness to letting go of a bell rope. If you have ever seen a country church with a bell in the steeple, you will remember that to get the bell ringing, you have to tug awhile. Once it has begun to ring, you merely maintain the momentum. As long as you keep pulling, the bell keeps ringing.

Corrie ten Boom says forgiveness is letting go of the rope. It is just that simple, but when you do so, the bell keeps ringing. Momentum is still at work. However, if you keep your hands off the rope, the bell will begin to slow and eventually stop.

It is like that with forgiveness. When you decide to forgive, the old feelings of unforgiveness may continue to assert themselves. After all, they have lots of momentum. But if you affirm your decision to forgive, that unforgiving spirit will begin to slow and will eventually be still. Forgiveness is letting go of the “rope” of retribution.”

Let’s become a forgiving people today.  After all, if you have been forgiven by God, it is your obligation and duty to exhibit the same type of forgiveness to others, lest they not see the love and forgiveness of God that He has shown to you! Ephesians 4:32 declares: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  

Let go of the rope of the past; stop ringing the bell of evil thoughts about others and choose to forgive!  If we can let go of the rope of hurt and stop pulling on the pain of the past, eventually the sound of unforgiveness will cease and we will be able to whisper in the quietness “I forgive.”

Published by Pastor Steve

Steve Harness and his beautiful wife, Natalie, are blessed with three children. They have served in ministry together for nearly 20 years and have been in Wilton, NY since 2009. Pastor Steve enjoys drinking Dunkin coffee and watching the New York Yankees baseball and Memphis Grizzlies basketball. Steve has a varied ministerial education, including a Bachelor of Bible from Pensacola Christian College, a Master of Ministry from Bethany Divinity Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling from Bethany. Currently, he is enrolled in the Master of Divinity (Christian Education) program at Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to pastoring the Wilton Baptist Church, he is also the principal of the Wilton Baptist Academy in Wilton, NY. He serves on the board of the New York Association of Christian Schools. Both Steve and Natalie are thankful for each opportunity the Lord has given to them, and they desire to “serve the Lord with gladness” while seeing people saved and advancing in their walk with Jesus.

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