The Prison of Unforgiveness

The prison’s been built, brick by brick
Strong and secure, it’s been built so well
Years in the making, carefully planned
Firm its foundation, solid are its walls

Dark is the prison, cramped is my cell
Twenty four hours I spend in this hell
Seven days a week I’m trapped by its walls
Fifty two weeks a year with no parole

Every hurt is a brick, every lie its mortar
Every wound adds height, every dagger adds strength
This persecutors prison I build for myself
Each wall more secure with each passing day

One brick just a hazard but hardly a prison
One brick on its own causes no worry at all
But now as I lie in my prison of past hurts
I can scarcely breathe and my freedom is dying

Dark is the prison, cramped is my cell
Built by the things of which I refuse to let go
Built of the things that I refuse to forgive
Bitter and vengeful I sit here so trapped

Why should I forgive them, let them off the hook?
It’s them in the wrong and not I
It wouldn’t be just to forgive and forget
They’ve hurt me and I will hold onto that hurt

They’ll be sorry they wronged me, you’ll see
As I sit in my prison and hold onto that hurt
As the misery grows and wals close in
They’ll beg my forgiveness, just wait

Dark is this prison and long is the night
Trapped in this cell that I’ve made
No-one is begging, no-one even cares
This justice is killing me and not them

I withhold my forgiveness and cherish the hurt
And yet I’ve been forgiven so much
My slate’s been wiped clean, I’ve been restored
But is that really the point?

What does it mean to be completely forgiven?
What is the part I’ve to play now?
Yes, I am thankful, yes, I am grateful
But forgive others and just let them off?

Dark is my prison and dark is my life
Can I face having others run free?
Let off to come and rub salt in the wound
Let off just to hurt me once again

Secure is my prison and I’m secure here
Do I really want things all to change?
The dark is now comforting, the light so strange
Surely better the devil you know, isn’t it?

What will forgiveness mean for them, for me?
Why should they gain, why my blessing should they receive?
I am forgiven, should I then forgive?
I am in prison but are they truly free?

They care not whether I forgive or not
My forgiveness brings them no good
Or my withholding it any ill
In obedience should I do that which is right?

From this prison of the night should I forgive?
In thankfulness for what I have been let off
Do the words of His prayer ring true?
Forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us

And so their freedom I will grant
And so their hurt I choose not to hold
So I release them and grant them this gift
I give them the gift of my forgiveness

I give it not because I must but because I may
I give it for I have been forgiven much
I give it to be obedient to my Father
I give it so that they may be free

But are they free, were they really imprisoned?
What have I really done for them?
Do they now live without that burden?
Are the gates flung wide and the sin written off?

But wait, what is this terror now I face?
What new demon haunts me now?
What chink of light now pierces my cell?
What shadows flee as darkness hides?

Brick by brick my prison crumbles
Secure walls are secure no more
Darkness, once deafening, now recedes
Unexplained, unfathomable, peace seeps in

This prison cell, refuge of darkness
Broken, failing, no longer secure
This self-built, once great, fortress
Lies in ruin at my feet

I have been forgiven and was set free
A freedom bought at such high cost
Yet now at no cost to myself or others
I find myself once more in light, free

Free of guilt, free of fear
Free from bitterness’s sweet poison
No more thoughts of vengeful plots
No more axe to grind or justice to seek

I have done no man a favour with my forgiveness?
No man, but me, is to benefit this deed
Who feels the release more than I do?
Who bleeds less now that the deed is done?

How I hung on to bitter unforgiveness?
Sheltered under its branches from life’s storm
Held on with both hands for fear of letting go
And now, only now, I see the harm

Harm only to me did I cause, unending
Once forgiving it was I who was set free
Kept in darkness, self-harming, twisted bitterness
Now released, forgiven and forgiving, set truly free.

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