I wrote a few weeks ago about our power source being trust in God. (You can read about it here.) Well, I have an addendum to that blog, and I think this also is crucially important to our success in life. Forgiveness.
A powerful thing, forgiveness is.
When someone hurts me, I draw back from them, I retreat because I’m hurt. After I process the hurt for a while, I tend to get mad at that person thinking, who are they to do that to me? How dare they? I’m mad at them now and they owe me an apology. Then those thoughts multiply and have babies and pretty soon I’m imagining ways to torture that individual. OK, maybe that’s a little extreme, but you get the point. The hurt just grows.
Now, instead of just being on the receiving end, I’m actually contributing to the problem, making it worse. It’s bad enough that they hurt me and I feel that pain, but now I’ve short circuited my ability to GET OVER IT. I’m contributing to my own pain.
Who am I hurting? Only myself. Does the person who hurt me feel my little daggers coming at them? No. Do they see they have hurt me and owe me an apology? No. Do they go on with their life and forget anything ever happened? Yes.
I think we are under the impression that other people think about us much more than they really do. Keep in mind, people are pretty much caught up in their own lives to worry about ours!
I’ve heard it said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Nobody is getting hurt except us. Letting go of those hurts frees us up to move forward and grow. How well I know that it’s much easier said than done.
How do you forgive someone? How do you let it go? By an act of your will . . . and a step of faith.
For me, I have to make myself say the words out loud, “I forgive them.” I usually add, “and I bless them in Jesus Name,” just for good measure. The Bible says we are supposed to bless those that curse us, right? I want to make sure all my bases are covered.
I may not feel like it the first time, I may not feel like it the first 20 times, but eventually, my feelings catch up to my decision to forgive. And that’s really what it boils down to right there: You have to make a decision to forgive, because you’re never going to “feel like it.” And the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Hurt happens, none of us can escape it. But we can keep it from imprisoning us.