There is a movie I have watched several times, although it is a tear jerker, it is also a picture of grace under pressure. The movie is called Amish Grace, it is about a time in the Amish community when a non-Amish man went into their school and shot several girls, with several of them dying.

The faith of the Amish is solid and strong, built over generations. You could see this in the movie, although deep wounds were there, and deep hurt, they chose to forgive the man. But they didn’t stop there; they surrounded the wife of the man who killed the children with love and forgiveness, in word and in action. It is a picture of grace, a grace that we should all strive to walk in.

Grace is defined as unmerited pardon or undeserved forgiveness. In this movie, as in life, forgiveness is most difficult to give when it is undeserved. I know from personal experience that it is very difficult to forgive someone who has hurt you or hurt someone you love. We feel they don’t ‘deserve’ forgiveness and it is true, they may not. Their intent may have been wrong or even evil, but that is what grace is all about – it is undeserved.

In the movie, one mother said that when she wakes up in the morning and doesn’t hear her girls singing as they are doing their chores, she is filled with anger. She said that anger almost consumes her but as she gives that anger to God, peace follows. She says if she holds on to that anger she will not be able to breathe.

Forgiveness is not about the person who harmed you, it is about you. It is about letting go of that anger, not allowing it place in your life and instead giving it all to God. When we give it to God, He will take care of it and we will walk on in peace. But if we hold on to it, we will have nothing but turmoil. Not only that, but the Bible tells us that if we want forgiveness, we have to give forgiveness. If we don’t give forgiveness, we are not forgiven.

I know a woman whose daughter was killed in a car accident about 20 years ago. The woman is angry with the girl’s boyfriend who was driving. She has been angry with him all this time. For years she put articles in the paper saying he killed her daughter, simply because he lived through the accident and he was driving. What is sad to me is that you can see the effects of the anger and unforgiveness in her body. She has been ill, very ill for several years. The Bible tells us that bitterness and anger causes sickness in our body and will destroy our bones.

In the movie one of the men said that God promises that peace comes after forgiveness. This being true would also mean that as long as forgiveness is withheld, torment would be present because peace would not be present.

Throughout scriptures we are promised God’s grace, God gives us undeserved pardon. The Bible says whatever we are freely given, we should freely give. We should freely give undeserved forgiveness. I am not saying it will be easy and it will certainly be a choice.

I know a woman who faced tragedy after tragedy a couple of years ago. I saw and spoke with her several times through it all, she walked in such grace. She was gentle and kind to the people who were causing pain in her family. She kept speaking faith and God’s grace. I was very impressed with her deep residing faith during her time of trouble.

On the other hand I see, speak to and get emails from people all the time who are going through challenges, without much grace. They are angry at people, at the situation and often at God. You only have to have one conversation with a person to know where they stand in times of trouble for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth will speak every single time.

Each time I see this movie it causes me to want to give more grace, love and undeserved forgiveness especially in situations where it is most difficult. I am not saying this from a perspective of someone who hasn’t walked through times when it was hard to forgive. It has not been that long that I had to daily forgive someone who was hurting Bryson and Breanne on a continual basis. Some days I fought to love and forgive but it was always my choice to forgive, it wasn’t easy but it was my choice to give God the anger and frustration. Just like the Bible says, peace followed forgiveness. Peace is not only an absence of torment but peace, in the Bible, is defined as completeness, nothing broken and nothing missing. That was what followed forgiveness in this situation for me.

Grace under pressure…are you seeing this in your life? If not, let’s all pray that we will be able, through God, to give grace and receive grace under pressure.

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