"Letters from Inside" is a blog series featuring incarcerated women at Minnesota Correctional Facility–Shakopee, where Prison Fellowship® runs one of its Academy sites. Hear from women who are not only serving time for crimes but are now trying to live their lives for Jesus behind bars.
For more "Letters from Inside," click here.
DON'T TAKE THE BAIT!
By Darcy Jo of Shakopee
A huge life skill I learned while [attending the] Prison Fellowship Academy at Shakopee is how to overcome offenses and how to not take an offense. I was a person who held onto grudges. I struggled with forgiveness, and I would rather end a friendship [rather] than try to reconcile.
Taking the Academy class "The Bait of Satan" turned all that around for me.
HOLDING ONTO A GRUDGE
I didn't realize how destructive the sin of holding onto an offense was. I had no idea how my refusal to forgive others was making me a pawn in the enemy's claws. Once I realized the severity of holding onto grudges, all I wanted was to let them go … but how?
I learned forgiveness is a two-step process. [The first step is] simply making a decision—the decision to live with the consequences of another's sin without seeking retribution. Once I learned that, I felt a little silly because we all live with the consequences, whether we decide to forgive or not.
LET GOD HEAL US
Forgiveness is not easy, and true forgiveness is not possible without God. The second part of the process is [to let] God's power heal us. We still need to remember our decision during the healing [process]. We have forgiven [our offenders], and we have given them and the offense to God.
If we try to pick the grudge back up, the process will stop.
There is a way to avoid the process of forgiveness—but don't take the bait! In Luke 17:1, Jesus tells us it is impossible that no offenses should come. However, we always have the choice to take offense, and even if we are offended, we don't have to hold onto it. We can choose to feel the offense in the moment, process through it, and leave [it] in the past.
By doing so, we stay free from bitterness and resentment.
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