Forgiveness is Healing

By Vic Kohring

April 10, 2015

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."  Matthew 6:14-15

I write this column on Easter Sunday, almost nine years after my legislative office in Wasilla was raided by a swarm of armed FBI agents in 2006. I've struggled to accept the abhorrent acts committed against me by the so-called Justice Department and an authoritarian, dictator-like judge with a personal grudge who denied me my most basic constitutional rights. Deep wounds still linger, but the passage of time is gradually making it easier to accept what happened as I work to soften my heart against my transgressors.  

Pastor Bill Little of Journey Church in Wasilla reminded me recently that everything in life is a spiritual battle. He explained that the Apostle Paul had many enemies as I have. Some resented Paul, others hated him and others wanted to kill him. Some, who were supposedly on his side, sought to harm him. All things I experienced. But in spite of the persecution he faced, Paul never lost sight of his real enemy - Satan. When people attacked him, he knew they were not his real opponents. They were simply unwitting instruments of the spiritual forces of darkness. I relate Pastor Little's words to my case and believe that spiritual dark forces were driving the judge and prosecutors. 

I've forgiven those who caused me harm, but will never forget. Nor will I stop working to expose the real corruption in our government in hopes that others won't suffer the same fate. Radio talk show host Alex Jones recently said, “Resistance to tyrants (in government) is obedience to God.” In other words, fighting our government when an injustice is committed is the right thing to do. I see it as a mission to expose evil for what it is.

The Bible also says to be firm with your enemies, but also forgiving. Jesus explained that if your brother sins, rebuke him and if he repents, forgive him. As difficult as it is, I forgive all those who've trespassed against me even if no remorse was ever shown. I don't wish to go through life with hardness in my heart and want to be a positive example to others that I can overcome adversity with grace and dignity. As hideous as my experience was, I’ve chosen to move on and be better, not bitter. Few things are more precious in life than forgiveness. It's wonderfully freeing to forgive those who've wronged you. 

Forgiveness is not a spiritual gift, a skill or an inherited trait. It is a choice. Jesus said that the measure in which we are forgiving is the same standard God will use in forgiving us. As we truly understand God's gracious forgiveness in our lives, we will naturally want to express the same to others as Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13 notes. 

Jesus looked down on those who had ruthlessly nailed Him to a cross, yet cried out: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” How then, can we refuse to forgive those who have committed offenses against us? If Jesus can forgive those who killed him, certainly I can forgive those who nailed me to the cross of big government.

My experience was a gut wrenching example of government at its worst and a perversion of justice from a system that failed me. Yes I made mistakes, but we all do as we live life. Benjamin Franklin once said, “To err is human.” I may have erred in my conduct as I’m only human even though my mistakes weren’t egregious or criminal. But I'm not about to let this catastrophe ruin me. If God will forgive our most relentless adversaries in life, I can do no less.