Imagine for a moment the most highly secured prison in the world.
Not just some deep, dark dungeon, no, I mean a high tech inescapable prison.
With guards everywhere. Cameras galore. A modern day Alcatraz.
Prisoners are let out for only an hour a day in a highly supervised prison yard where every move they make is watched and analyzed.
Prisoners here are serving life sentences. There is no conceivable way out.
Now imagine you’ve been sentenced there.
En route to the prison your mind races with how awful it will be and how you’ll likely die there with no chance of parole.
Once checked in you walk to your cell.
Your cell is comfy, cozy and is actually much nicer and roomier than you thought.
In fact, it hardly looks like a cell at all. It’s more like a retreat. Plush leather, warm blankets, furniture suited specifically to your tastes.
This isn’t really prison is it?
After you try your cell door you’re snapped back to reality, yes, you’re still incarcerated.
But it’s not bad at all.
Inside your cell you have many modern comforts.
Cable, on-demand movies, your favorite foods and drinks are readily available as well.
This isn’t really prison is it?
After some time, what led you to this prison is fading from your memory and you figure you’re ready to go. You feel rehabilitated.
But no, access denied. You must stay. Even though you long for visitors, no one ever comes.
Time goes on and it becomes harder to remember what landed you here in the first place.
What was once a fairly decent place to stay is now a living hell.
Comforts surround you, but you can’t find any peace.
You’re constantly tormented by distant memories but can’t truly get a handle on why you’re stuck in this prison.
One day in your anguish you come to a sudden realization.
There are no guards at your door. There are no shackles on your hands or feet. There is not even a lock on your door.
As you reflect on this whole ordeal you begin to see things more clearly.
No one is holding you here. You’re actually here voluntarily. The sentence that put you here was self-inflicted.
You are living in the prison of unforgiveness.
Someone hurt you, wronged you, they took advantage of you; in an effort to cope and survive you did the best you could and withheld your forgiveness.
You brought yourself to this prison. It’s comfortable. You can nurse your wounds here.
Here in this prison you’re safe from being hurt again. No one can reach you. You are far from danger.
But you’re alone.
A new more lethal danger grows.
Early on that was okay, but now it’s killing you.
You lie to yourself constantly.
No one could possibly understand you. No one has ever lived through what you have. If people knew your story they’d reject you forever.
What you intended as punishment for those who hurt you has now become your prison.
Unforgiveness is the harshest prison imaginable.
Yet it’s so enticing.
There is safety, comfort, and solitude.
But how quickly those turn to danger, agony and emptiness.
On your cell wall you find a key.
It’s been there the whole time, you’ve just never bothered to investigate until now.
The key is inscribed clearly with one word…
You know exactly what to do. You grab the key and walk out.
You’re free. Forgiveness is the key.
Now is the time to forgive.
Others. Friends. Enemies. Yourself.
Let it go.
You’ve got a life to live… prison free.
Now is >