So I wrote about anger last week and this time around I want to talk about forgiveness. I know that every single person on earth has been hurt or offended in some way. We're human beings so we're prone to taking offence and even giving offence. Sometimes people offend us intentionally and sometimes they do it unintentionally. It's a part of the world we live in, but not everybody has learnt to forgive.
Loool my dad in church on Sunday said that if you stay angry with someone till the next day you're a witch. He was joking, but the point he was making was that we ought to forgive and let things go. I mean even the Bible says that we should forgive our neighbours 70 times 7 times in a day,
Forgiveness has been described as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. It's so funny because I know a lot of people think forgiveness is for the person who has committed the offence. "If I forgive him, he will get off lightly etc."
What we need to realise is that forgiveness is for us. It's for the hurt, abused , disappointed and offended. You shouldn't forgive because of the person who has offended you, you should forgive because of yourself.
Hatred, anger, hurt and bitterness have a way of hurting and contaminating the soul of people who harbour these feelings. It seeps your energy and drains your joy, the hurt and anger can appear at the worst time and taint your energy or emotions at any time. Believe me, it's the worst thing ever, dwelling on someone who hurt or betrayed you.
The sad thing is that you get no benefit from being unforgiving, it takes from you instead. So why do we hold on to past hurts and disappointments? Why bother hating someone and thinking negative thoughts while wishing them evil or not wishing them well.
If you can't pray for someone, you haven't forgiven them. If you keep bringing up the offense, you haven't forgiven them. If you think on it and you twinge whenever you remember it and you have negative feelings towards the person, you haven't forgiven.
I know that there are many people with deep hurts out there, who have been hurt by the people that they least expected the betrayal from. I can't imagine how painful or hurtful it must've been for you. I'm not asking you to forgive the person or people because of them. I'm begging you to forgive because of yourself. Lack of forgiveness has a way of holding you in the same place, you become stagnant and it affects other parts of your life. It's a weight off your shoulders when you decide to forgive.
I know it's not easy, but it's best. We need to learn to stop hurting ourselves because of other people's actions. When someone does something to hurt us, our refusal to forgive them adds to that hurt and gives them a double win. Let it go, move on and make sure that you never do to someone else what others have done to hurt you.
If Jesus had hurt the world the same way we hurt Him, where would we be today. My role model will always be Jesus. Jesus died for us on the cross of Calvary and even while he was on the cross, he asked God to forgive us. There's no higher love than that, there's no greater show of love than Jesus' death for us.
So if Jesus, who had every reason not to forgive us, forgave us, how much more us? I am in no way diminishing the hurt, pain or anger that you've been through, I'm just saying that we need to learn to forgive so that we don't hurt ourselves any longer. Forgiveness allows us to live our lives freely.
I'm not going to lie to you, when you don't forgive, you're binding yourself to the pain that has caused the unforgiveness.
I'm not going to say forgive by making excuses for people (if that works for you, that's great)! All I know is that God has a way of taking every hurt, disappointment, shame and pain away. If you go to God and you ask Him to help you to forgive, I promise you that God will work with you until you fully forgive.
One thing that has always helped me forgive is prayers for the person who caused the anger or hurt. I keep praying for them until my heart wishes them well. Until I no longer feel negative things whenever their name is mentioned.
You may not forget what they've done, but you can release the negative emotions surrounding the event. You don't have to be as close as you were to them before the circumstance, especially if they're not your spouse, or if they're not repentant, but you can forgive and let it go.
They don't have to ask for forgiveness before you forgive them. Some people will never apologise, some people don't even know or understand what they've done wrong. It's not possible to keep such people around you, especially when they're unrepentant. But it is possible to forgive.
Please just know that unforgiveness doesn't hurt the offender, it hurts the offended. So please forgive. Forgiveness is a journey and as long as you embark on it and decide to forgive, you'll get there.
Once again, I love you and God loves you.