Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. –Wikipedia
Something that has come up several times the last few weeks is forgiveness.
To forgive or not to forgive?
But I didn’t…
Forgiveness is very hard. Sometimes it seems impossible. Sometimes it seems like it is not for us to forgive. When the other party isn’t remorseful or recognize they need forgiveness.
So here is why you have to forgive anyway!
- Anger will eat you alive! Did you know anger can contribute to heart disease?
- Those who forgive may live longer!
- Research shows a direct association between forgiveness of family members and psychological health.
- It restores your sense of power!
- Reduces the anger, bitterness, resentment, depression, and other negative emotions that accompany the failure to forgive.
That all makes so much sense! When you choose to let go of the hurt, you replace that with peace and love. Why not live with love? I know it is hard! But simply put, you are hurting yourself by holding on to that anger! I have found that the person that did the wrong, goes on to be just fine. When I am angry, it destroys me and does absolutely nothing to the offender! That is the TRUTH!
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.” -Smedes
Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. You can forgive and still chose not to let them back into your life. Focus on the Family explains forgiveness and what it really means. This is a biggie! Often I think forgiving someone means I have to let them back in or they got off easy. That is not true. I love this line “Forgetting does not mean denying reality or ignoring repeated offenses”.
We should never let back in someone that is abusive or harms our well being in any way. Or someone that continues to hurt you or your family. That is not acceptable. But you can draw that line. You can forgive and still keep your distance.
Forgiveness is a process. It takes time. It is not a switch that you can turn on or off. I have found that I thought I forgave someone, but when the subject came up or I was around them, it all came back again. I realized I was still in that process.
Sometimes they don’t deserve forgiveness. Some things are that bad! They are! But why let them continue to destroy you? WHY? Let it go! Do not give them that power over you! Take the focus off of them and on to YOU! You deserve to feel free and lighter.
Have faith in justice. God has the final say. We are not the jury on this earth. My goal is to forgive others like God continues to forgive me every single day. How can I ask for forgiveness if I cannot forgive? I also have to remember that THEY are responsible for their actions. They will have to answer for them to someone so much higher than me. What if they asked God for forgiveness and they are free? What if? Then you are the only one still hurting.
I challenge you to stop and start today! Stop holding that grudge. Stop holding on to the hurt and anger. Start letting go and gaining your peace and power back. Start living again!