Could you forgive someone who sexually assaulted you and cut of your hands and feet?

Could you forgive someone who sexually assaulted you and cut of your hands and feet?
     Many years ago, I read a news story about a young girl who had been kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and brutally attacked.  Her hands and feet had been cut off by her attacker, and she was left for dead.  Miraculously,  she survived, and the man was caught and sent to prison for his horrific crime.
     Eighteen years later, this man was being paroled.  The news media got wind of it and thought this would make a great human interest story.  They tracked down the girl, who was now a married woman with children of her own.  With cameras running, they approached her front door, and when she answered, they delivered the news that the man who had kidnapped and brutalized her was going to be set free!  The cameras quickly zoomed in on her face expecting to see a burst of emotional outrage and anger at hearing this monster was going free.  Instead, she calmly said, “Eighteen years ago this man took thirty minutes of my life, and I have decided not to give him one second more.”
   This lady was a believer in Jesus and she made the decision to forgive the man who had maimed and violated her so terribly.  If she hadn’t forgiven him, she too would have been in prison; a different kind but, nonetheless, a prison.
     Someone once said, “ Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die!” Unforgiveness poisons anyone who holds it, causing them to become bitter.  It is impossible to be bitter and get better at the same time!
     The love every believer possesses today is the very same love that forgave the entire world on the cross.  God would never ask us to forgive if He hadn’t equipped us with the ability to do so.  This same love can heal your broken heart and enable you to forgive the one  who broke it.  Living in God’s forgiveness is freedom.  Knowing how to forgive is freeing.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:23).  Ed Elliot 

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