Gosh, it’s so hard to forgive. We know we should. We feel we ought. But, sometimes we’d just rather hold onto that grudge and let it stew a little. Let it marinate. Let the venom build up so that we can spew it at any given moment when reminded of the person who offended us or the situation which embarrassed us. Oh, we’ll show them!
But will we?
I mean, what good does it do to hold onto anger and resentment or even to have vengeance in your heart? It only serves in making you a miserable human being. And all of your energy is wasted on these awful feelings. Maybe I’m oversimplifying this whole subject…but maybe not.
I’m not for a moment suggesting that whatever was done that hurt you is not awful. Not at all. Maybe whatever happened really hurt. Maybe it was really wrong or unfair or mean or uncalled for or damaging. I’m not discrediting whatever happened to you. I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t feel wronged or hurt or betrayed or offended. What I AM saying is that holding onto unforgiveness really doesn’t do you any good.
It is like ivy. Have you ever seen ivy grow along the walls of the outside of a house. It may start with just a few vines creeping up the walls, but over time, it literally takes over. It spreads covering every possible surface. If you don’t manage it, it will completely take over. That’s how unforgiveness is. It may start small. But, if left unchecked, it can grow to overtake you.
Don’t believe me? I’m sure we’ve all met or known at least one bitter person who has been holding onto the same grudge for YEARS. They bring up the topic of their offense repeatedly like a recording on a loop. They never got over whatever it was. They’ve stewed in their unforgiveness for so long that they’ve become this awfully negative, toxic, bitter person and/or their personal growth was stunted. Because they never got over the offense and never chose to let it go, they’ve remained STUCK. They’ve not grown or changed for the better. It’s like an invisible restraint, prohibiting the person from moving forward. But, the only way they can break free is if they choose to break free by forgiving – and setting their own heart and mind free.
I didn’t say it was easy. It’s almost always difficult. But, it begins with a CHOICE at first. You have to choose to forgive. And most of the time it is not an instantaneous fix. You won’t always feel better immediately. Most of the time it is a process where you make the conscious decision time and again to release that offense or person from the mental jail you’ve put them into. You’re not really punishing them, so much as you’ve been punishing yourself by brooding.
This is such a large topic to cover and this post is only scratching the surface. But know that forgiveness is often a process and yes it can take on many forms. Sometimes it means quietly within yourself choosing to forgive. Sometimes it means confronting someone in a safe setting. Sometimes it means actually telling the person you forgive them. Though you forgive, that doesn’t mean you have to return to the previous state of friendship or relationship. Forgiveness can involve you realizing that you must construct healthy and necessary boundaries. Sometimes those boundaries may include reducing, limiting or prohibiting further contact with that person or those people who offended or harmed you. There are various scenarios. But, the important thing is that you FORGIVE FOR YOUR OWN WELL BEING.
From a faith perspective, God says we must forgive others because He forgave us, this can be also difficult to swallow. But, if this is your belief, then you understand that we have been forgiven much, therefore, how can we, in turn, choose not to forgive others. But, forgiveness is not something we’re left alone to grapple with. God helps us via his Holy Spirit to have the capacity and desire to forgive. We have His assistance. And all of the above (in this article) still applies. God desires our freedom from things that would be negative and that would bind us. He knows that if we choose to hang onto unforgiveness it is like a poison to us and he’d rather we are free from any poison in our lives.
It is my hope and prayer that something said here has helped you, whether you’re a person of faith or not, forgiveness is key to our health and well-being.
©KD Corner 2015 “Forgiveness = Freedom”
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