Why it is that some people who endure suffering never seem to find peace and they leave this world defeated and broken; while others can turn similar hardships into their greatest victory? Their story becomes a bestseller; sometimes changing lives, laws, and history.
Ultimately it comes down to choice, but I’ll never fully understand what it is about the human condition that causes one person to keep fighting and another to give up.
However, I’d like to suggest what the answer might be: forgiveness.
In his book Tears of my Soul, Sokreaksa Himm tells his story about surviving Cambodia’s Killing Fields in the 1970’s. He’s only 14 when he’s left for dead at the bottom of a massive grave. He crawls out from underneath 13 of his family members who’ve all been brutally murdered by the Khmer Rouge.
Years later he has a “life changing conversion to Christianity” and is “now a missionary in Cambodia, where he builds schools, plants churches and trains leaders. In addition he’s authored two books on the tragedy and his journey to forgiveness.”
Perhaps you’ve had a difficult life riddled with trials. Maybe you’ve lost a child or you’ve been stricken with a terrible disease and you feel like your perpetrator is God himself.
Is it possible that He is the one you need to forgive?
Could it be that God has something amazing planned that can only be worked out through your troubles? As it says in Psalm 66:10-12:
“For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.”
Don’t let anger and bitterness toward God or others take you down.
Sokreaksa started down that path filled with hatred and vengeance, but ultimately he chose the high road. Because of that choice many lives have been transformed:
“Forgiveness doesn’t come through vengeance, and neither does forgetting: no amount of violence could erase my memories. So I gave up my urge to inflict pain on those who had hurt me and killed my family. I knew it wouldn’t help, and nursing those desires was only damaging me; my emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological being.”
No matter what cross you have to bear, don’t choose bitterness. And you might be amazed at what God will do.