Releasing Your Captives
2 Chronicles 28:15
And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria.
Who has ever heard of treating your captives good and releasing them to go back home? The children of Israel had defeated Judah in battle and had taken them captives. It was while they had taken them back to Israel that certain heads of the tribes of Israel approached the troops who had taken the captives and told them they needed to send them back to their homeland. These heads understood that these captives were not just any people, but they were their brethren, and to mistreat them would bring God’s judgment upon them.
To the credit of these warriors, they took the captives, treated them in a friendly manner, and sent them back home. These warriors could have easily held a grudge against these captives because of the hurt of war, but they understood that the freedom that comes from forgiveness is much better than the captivity of bitterness.
In this story, there is seen the power of forgiveness and what it will do to your life. When you are willing to forgive, you will be willing to release others whom you have held captive because of some ought they have done against you. Forgiveness is willing to move on from the war that is waged between you and the offender. Forgiveness is one side saying, “It is enough.” Forgiveness does not care what the other side has done, but it is only concerned with itself being right with God.
My friend, you will struggle with forgiving another if you look at what you have lost and not at the personal freedom you will gain through forgiveness. There is a release of bitterness and anger when you choose to forgive those who have wronged you. There is a trust in God’s ability to reward you for doing the right thing in forgiving those who have wronged you. You will never know the great joy of the Christian life until you learn to forgive.
Moreover, forgiveness will cause you to want to do good to those who have wronged you. It is amazing that Israel clothed and fed Judah even though Judah was the captive. One may say that they don't see how they could ever do good to the one who has wronged them, but they will understand how to do that when they choose to forgive. Because forgiveness releases you from bitterness, you will then think with a Christlike mindset to do good to those who have despitefully used you and attacked you; this mindset is never acquired until you forgive those who have wronged you.
Let me ask, who is it that has wronged you that you refuse to forgive? Who is it that you are holding captive because of how they have hurt you? Oh, you may say that you have forgiven them, but your true mindset toward them is revealed by what you will do for them when they are hurting. The only person you are truly hurting by not forgiving those who have wronged you is yourself. You are robbing yourself of joy and the freedom that forgiveness gives by not forgiving. Let me encourage you not to allow hurt to rob you of the freedom that forgiveness gives.