2017-03-22 / Editorial & Columns

Behind the Badge

Let's talk about forgiveness and mercy
By Larry G. Spence

Have you ever had the opportunity to carry a grudge against someone, or have them say or do something to you and you refuse to forgive them? I believe there are times in all of our lives where we have an occasion to experience some feelings such as those. After wearing a badge of one kind or another for 50 plus years and serving this department for forty years, thirty two of them as Sheriff, I think," surely the people know my heart by now." Then something happens in my life, or at work, and the gossip and rumors run amuck, and it's disheartening and depressing that people would say such things and do the things they do. I'm sure many of you have been on the receiving end of such treatment at one time or another. So what do you do?

Usually I try to ignore it and consider the source, but then that's just me. I also have family, a wife and children who are affected by the things that are said and sometimes done. These things tend to have a ripple effect and spread quickly. Something happens and we become disappointed with people, some of those you thought were friends. How are we to handle situations such as these? The old Larry would have handled it a lot different and probably made matters worse. The new Larry, well not so new, believes there is a better way to handle matters such as these and others that come our way.

I'm talking about forgiveness and mercy. Most of us know what forgiveness is, but we don't all consider or practice it. We will get back to forgiveness, but let's look at mercy. Just what is mercy? Mercy is compassion or forgiveness shown to someone when it is within our power to punish or harm them. This takes a lot of soul searching, but it is the right thing to do. Mercy triumphs over judgment every time. Forgiveness is the key to extending that mercy to someone. It's always better to forgive too much than to condemn too much. Is it difficult to forgive? Yes, but it gets easier the more you understand why you must do it. You may not forget the offense, but you must forgive it. Also when one does something wrong there are consequences for such action, but it doesn't mean they can't be forgiven. Refusing to not extend forgiveness will keep you out of heaven, which should be your top priority. The only petition in the Lord's Prayer that has a condition attached to it, is the one on forgiveness. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Remember two things this week, "You will never get ahead of someone as long as you are trying to get even with them." The second thing is, "Never does the human soul become so strong as when it dares to forgive an injury." In the meantime, as always, stay safe and stay blessed!

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