There was once a farmer who was very old. He was well over 70 and attended church regularly, so everyone knew him. He was known to be a strict man, and a bit of a perfectionist. His wife had left him, and moved to England some twenty years ago. His five daughters were already grown-up. They were married and had kids of their own. They didn’t get along with him.
Sometimes they called him a bully. Yes, the farmer was a perfectionist. Everything had to be just right, or else… But that was long ago. He had now become an old and lonely man, dying for someone to talk to.
The Farmer hadn’t heard from his daughters since their mother left, so he didn’t know what they were up to. He had heard many rumors that they wanted nothing to do with him, and that they had called him an abuser behind his back. Sometimes he blamed himself for their behavior and regretted having been so strict with them when they were younger. Maybe that’s why they didn’t visit him, he often thought. If only they knew how much he loved them, all of them. If only he had told them how much he loved them when they were little.
One evening, the farmer decided to get out of his empty house and visit his pastor. When he finally arrived at the pastor’s house, he stood by the door a while before knocking, wondering what he would say. He knocked more than three times before eventually someone opened. It was the pastor’s wife. He looked at her, greeted and requested to speak to her husband. She invited him in without hesitation, and went to the back room to call the pastor.
The farmer could feel his heart beating in his chest when he saw the pastor enter the living room. He was a well-respected and humble man who had a passion for helping others. And this old farmer needed all the help he could get.
”Good evening Pastor! How are you doing?”
Pastor greeted with a soft smile and held out a cup of tea his wife had made for them.
“No thank you. I won’t stay long,” the farmer pronounced.
“To what do I owe this surprise?” Pastor inquired as he descended in his chair.
“Pastor, I need your help. I have been feeling sick for a while now.”
“Well, have you been to a doctor? You’re not so youthful anymore, you know.”
“No, Pastor. I don’t need a doctor,”
“But you just said that you feel sick.”
“Pastor, I’m miserable. I can’t take this anymore.”
Pastor raised an eyebrow. “Can’t take what anymore?” he asked and looked at his wife.
“I have been living with hate all these years. I can’t take it anymore. I’m tired.”
“Is that what you meant when you said you’ve been feeling sick all these years? You have been holding on to hate all these years?”
“Yes Pastor. Please, can you help me?” The farmer tried to hold back his tears, but he couldn’t resist. He couldn’t believe that he was revealing himself to strangers. He became overwhelmed and cried so much that his body started to shake fiercely. But he couldn’t help it. He felt weighed down, stripped clean. He had nothing left inside of him.
Pastor put down his tea. He had to intervene. He took a deep breath, put his hand on the farmer’s shoulder, and said: “What you need to do is to forgive. Your hatred and unwillingness to forgive has made you sick. And by you, I mean your inner man, your spirit. My friend, the good news is that you can be set free from all that hate. But, you must forgive.”
The farmer looked up. His eyes were red and swollen. Trying to get himself under control, he looked at both of them, nearly begging. “Well, can you help me with that? Can you help me free myself?”
“Yes we can,” Pastor’s wife replied. “But you must sincerely forgive and let go of all the hurt that others may have caused you. You must also forgive yourself for whatever you may have done to others. Your spiritual health depends on this. So will you choose to forgive?”
“Yes I will. Yes I will. I will forgive. Oh, thank you both for all your help. You have changed my life.”
Pastor smiled and said: “No my friend, you’ve just changed your own live. By choosing to forgive you have set yourself free. Free from your own bondage.”
The farmer got out of his chair and reached for the Pastor’s hand, greeted him and his wife and said: “Pastor, you won’t believe this, but I feel so much lighter than when I came here.”
Pastor smiled and replied: “My friend that right there is called freedom.”
Tell us: Do you find it easy or hard to forgive?