“Forgiveness is giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me”
Forgiveness is an action that must be made from the heart. We can’t just say “I forgive you” and continue to hold grudges secretly within our hearts against someone. Forgiveness is forgetfulness. By forgetfulness, I mean learning to let something go. Feelings of hatred will only lead to a life of bitterness.
A lot of people refuse to forgive until they get “even” or until the other person receives proper justice for their actions. Going about life this way is harmful to our own souls. By constantly thinking of ways to “get someone back”, you allow these hateful feelings to take control over your well-being. We retain feelings of animosity and allow others to control our peace of mind. For the longest time, forgiving people was out of the question for me. It was so difficult for me to simply say “That’s okay, God will handle it.” I wanted to see justice immediately. I wanted the other person to truly regret hurting me. But reality is, that’s so unhealthy. For one, sometimes people will reap the consequences years after the offense and sometimes these consequences will be unseen. But either way, the consequences will come. As I strengthened my relationship with The Lord, I was able to gain so much strength. I realized that forgiving people is much easier when you can trust The Lord to take care of it. It’s important to note that revenge is not ours, nor will it ever be. We have been commanded to forgive those who hurt us because we ourselves are being forgiven (Colossians 3:13 KJV). We are told to be kind and “tenderhearted” towards one another and forgive “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven” us (Ephesians 4:31-32 KJV). I always knew I was supposed to forgive others, but I never thought it was fair. But recently, it hit me why this was such an important concept. Forgiveness isn’t always for the other person. In fact, forgiveness is more for us. When you hold a grudge against someone, they’re not carrying the heavy burden, you are. When you allow yourself to forgive others, you free your soul from bondage.
There’s always a great emphasis on forgiving others, but let’s not forget ourselves. If anything, forgiving ourselves can be harder than forgiving someone else. Regardless of what you have done wrong, you have to accept it. When you forgive others, you accept that they hurt you and you make a commitment to forgive them. Well, when you are trying forgive yourself, there can be a constant battle within you. Sometimes it’s hard to think that we are worthy of being forgiven so we just beat ourselves up everyday. You can’t live your life allowing your mistakes to haunt you. This too is unhealthy. In order to forgive yourself, you have to accept what you did. Realize that no one is perfect and mistakes were bound to happen eventually. Stop hiding from your past and stop ignoring what you have done. Yeah, maybe you messed up…really bad, but by trapping yourself in the shadows of your past, you limit your progression. Stop trying to change the past because it’s never going to happen. Learn from your past. Make a commitment to yourself to be better everyday. Decide who you want to become. If you still feel unworthy of forgiveness, work towards being someone that you deem fit of being forgiven. Sometimes forgiveness takes time, and that’s okay. Forgiving yourself is the only way to start again and keep moving forward.
Forgiveness can seem like a pretty rigorous task for some of us. It’s definitely not something that you just master once and never have to work on again. Forgiveness will always need to be something that we actively work on. But, forgiveness provides so many benefits for us.
When you allow yourself to forgive and let things go, you’ll be hit with a wave of peace. Now, like all great things, this peace won’t necessarily come immediately. But eventually, you’ll recognize that you are in a state of peace. You will no longer be haunted by negative memories. You will no longer be holding onto feelings of hatred. Eventually, the peace will naturally starting seeping into your life.
“Forgiveness is not about letting someone off the hook for their actions, but freeing ourselves of negative energy that binds us to them.” Forgiving others allows us to free our souls of the hatred and replace the holes with joy. As you start forgiving, you’ll notice that your thoughts are free from the bondage that grudges presented to you.
Holding on to things in your past, especially painful things, really limits your progression. You’re unable to focus on preparing a better future because you are so concerned with trying to change the past (which is impossible). When you let things go, you invite the growth to begin.
Of course we could go on and on about the benefits of forgiveness, but those were the three things that I observed from my experiences. Forgiveness has truly allowed me to experience joy in my daily life. If I held onto negative memories, I would seriously be so miserable. Forgiveness has allowed me to accept others for who they are and acknowledge that they’re not perfect and neither am I. And you know what, that’s okay. In order for me to continue a life of happiness, letting go and forgiving others is honestly essential. So…let go, find peace, and keep moving forward.