Our home borders a swamp. There is a drainage ditch that comes within a few feet of our driveway. The denizens of the swamp, snakes, turtles and alligators often inhabit the ditch. When the gators get too big we have to have hunters come in and remove them. It’s interesting how they do that. They tie a piece of raw chicken to a fishing line and cast it in the ditch. The gator snaps onto the bait and the hunter just draws him in until he is close enough to tie a loop of rope around his neck. There is no hook in the raw chicken. All the gator would have to do to escape is let go of the chicken, but he won’t.
Today I’m hosting at church the final segment of Offense, the Bait of Satan. The release of offense is discussed and it turns out we are pretty much like gators. We just won’t let go of offense. Even when it is to our obvious determent. When someone sins against us, the sin is all theirs, when we hold on to the offense the sin caused, it becomes ours. It’s the reason Jesus told us that if we fail to forgive others, the Father will not forgive us. By holding onto unforgiveness, or offense, we sin.
How do we let go? First we have to decide to forgive. It’s just a decision, not a feeling. Then we have to seek good for the offender, at first by prayer and, eventually, if necessary by sowing good things into his or her life. Like many things, it isn’t easy. Like many things, it is worth doing. Holding on to offense, blocks our spiritual growth and our relationship with God and others. Don’t be as stubborn as a gator. Let go and live.