Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Ruggiero Leoncavallo was a rising star. Born in Naples in 1857, he became a successful composer, particularly after his opera, “Pagliacci,” premiered under the baton of Arturo Toscanini in 1892. Seeking to build on this success, he discovered the novel, La Vie de Bohème. This, he believed, was the story upon which he could base his next great opera.

He was distressed to learn that another composer, Giacomo Puccini, already was writing an opera based on the same book. Nonetheless, Leoncavallo continued with his project.

Puccini was first to finish his work, and his opera, La Bohème, became a sensation. Leoncavallo also finished his opera, but after a fairly successful debut, it was quickly forgotten. In the aftermath, he never could forgive Puccini, and the two men never spoke again. Crippled by bitterness and unforgiveness, Leoncavallo was stuck with the label of “one-opera composer.”

A spirit of unforgiveness can creep into any person’s life. Just like Leoncavallo, our lack of forgiveness can poison our attitudes and even lead to physical or emotional anguish.

Jesus said it was important to forgive others and to receive forgiveness from those we may have offended. If we are “at the altar,” we are to be ready to forgive those who have something against us. We even are to leave our offering and “go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:23-24).

Forgiveness is so important that, while dying on the Cross, Jesus took the time to forgive those who were crucifying Him. As He demonstrated, we are not just to forgive our friends, but also our enemies. Forgiveness is not an option, but a cornerstone of the Christian faith—a key to mental, emotional, and spiritual health, and the healing of relationships.

Have you been wounded by the actions or words of someone? Have you forgiven them?