Though born in slavery, having experienced the sting of hatred and prejudice, Booker T. Washington was still able to say, “I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”

Revenge is not the answer. “As long as you are tangled in wrong and revenge, blow and counterblow, aggression and defense, you will be constantly drawn into fresh wrong. . . Only forgiveness frees us from the injustice of others,” observed Romano Guardini.

Forgiveness is more than merely a matter of words, there is always a cost attached. There is a debt that someone must pay. Your sweet wife puts a dent in the fender of your new car.

Of course, it was accidental, not intentional. But there is still a dent that needs to be fixed. She is your wife; you have to forgive her, right? Someone still has to pay the cost of having the fender fixed. So you forgive and so you pay.

You see forgiveness is more than merely a matter of words, there is always a cost attached. The debt has to be paid by someone. Because of our sin, we owed what could be called “the unpayable debt.”

The wages of sin is death. (Romans. 6:23) But on the cross, Jesus brought us forgiveness; because it was there He paid the debt we owed. The cross that brought us forgiveness was the cost attached to our sins.

Dr. Wayne Shaw (R-Grove) has been a member of the Oklahoma Senate since 2014. Prior to that he served as the senior pastor at First Christian Church, Grove, for many years.