Forgiving someone who has hurt us is the hardest thing to do. And yet forgiveness is what we are called to do. How do we get our heads around what that word forgiveness really means?
I’m going to approach this subject from a Christian perspective, but whether you are a Christian or not this is an important philosophy. So read on to get the peace you need, through forgiveness.
What Is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is not about forgetting someone hurt you, it’s about letting go of the bitterness and hatred that unforgiveness brings to you.
What Does The Bible Say About Forgiveness
The Bible thinks that forgiveness is important. You can see it all through both the new and old Testaments. Here are just a few of the many scriptures that pertain to forgiveness.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Matthew 6:12 – And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Romans 12:18-21 – If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave It to the wrath of God.
Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirs old quarrels, but love overlooks insults.
Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive one another. If any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Why Is Forgiveness So Important?
Unforgiveness is the poison you intend for someone else, but you drink yourself.
Contrary to what most people think forgiveness is not for the person who wronged you. It’s for you.
The person who wronged you is probably not sitting up nights worrying about what they have done to you. They may not even realize they have done anything to you at all.
It’s you that is suffering. It is you that is obsessing. It’s you that is ruining your health.
It was once described to me as; “The poison you intend for someone else, but you drink yourself.”
My Family’s Story On Forgiveness
I grew up believing that my mother was mentally ill. She was sad and unsociable and just miserable to be around. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, after her passing, that I discovered that she harbored unforgiveness and bitterness.
This affected every aspect of her life. Her health, her friendships (or the lack thereof), and most of all her family.
Every one of her children left the house as soon as they could, most getting married way too young. Most being pregnant at the time or their girlfriend having gotten pregnant. Most ended up divorced. All were just trying to escape our mother.
There were other scars too. The inability to trust and have long lasting friendships. The lack of desire/ability to interact with family, and many walls that were put up.
Since my mom was a Christian, there were some family members who thought Christianity was bad, because of her example. In fact, that’s exactly what Christianity teaches us NOT to do.
My mother ended up in her later years not seeing most of her children or grandchildren at all as they had cut her out of their life.
And all, because she could not forgive. She drank that poison of unforgiveness every day.
But They Don’t Deserve Forgiveness
That may well be true. The person who wronged you may be despicable and not deserve any mercy. But it’s not about them. It’s about you.
Does That Mean They Sould Get Away With It?
No, not necessarily. If there are consequences that need to occur, that can still happen. If someone needs to go to jail or pay a price, that can still happen while you are forgiving them.
Remember, this isn’t about them, it’s about you. It’s about letting it go for your own mental health.
Do You Have To Keep Letting Them Hurt You?
Absolutely, unequivocally NO!
If you have been hurt by someone who is going to hurt you again. The first thing you should do is get away from that person. Protect yourself. Protect others to the best of your ability.
You have no obligation to keep letting someone hurt you.
After you have gotten to a safe place, then you need to work on forgiveness, so that person doesn’t keep hurting you through your own mind.
The Poison You Intend For Someone Else But You Drink Yourself.
I told that quote to a group of ladies at a bible study one day.
The very next week a lady came back and thanked me for that. She had been harboring hatred and unforgiveness for her ex-husband for years.
She said I had lifted a weight off her shoulders by giving her permission to forgive him.
By merely repeating that quote, which had been shared with me, forgiveness began in another person.
Healing had started.
How To Forgive.
Forgiving someone who has hurt or wronged you is one of the hardest things to do.
It’s much easier to keep hating. But that will only eat you up.
Forgiveness is not something that is likely to happen all at once. You may pick it back up and want to brood about it.
But one day at a time, you can put that burden back down. Stop sipping that poison. Stop carrying that heavy weight.
Each time you put it down, it will become lighter and lighter. Until one day you realize that you haven’t thought about it at all for a long time.
Through prayer, God will help you forgive and start living your life again.
Give it a try. You have only peace to gain.
Also Read: Finding Creation In The Garden.
I wish you peace.