“I could never forgive her! You have no idea what she said; what she did to me.” What she did is just unforgivable!” Have you ever had someone say these words to you in anger and confusion as they expressed their frustration in how they were treated by another person? Or maybe you were the person fueled by anger and unleashed the above words as a result of being hurt by a loved one.
For many just the word “ forgiveness “ causes the person to be haunted by incidents that led them to have unforgiveness towards a loved one. Forgiveness for some is an act they feel they will never be able to do, due to the depth of the hurt they have experienced. According to Wikipedia, Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, letting go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness does not mean what you experienced was not painful, nor is it condoning the act/or events which have caused you pain. Unfortunately, unforgiveness has the potential to lead to bitterness, resentfulness, and stagnation. If a person is not careful unforgiveness becomes so deep rooted until there seems to be no way of escape from the intense hold it has over you. Often times the person who has caused the hurt or pain is going on with their daily lives yet the person unable to forgive becomes stagnated; unable to move on. Have you ever witnessed someone who does not even want to be in the presence or same environment of someone who has caused trauma to their lives? Most of us have. Unforgiveness can literally rip families apart, destroy marriages, and cause strained relationships between parent and child. Unforgiveness can devastate all relationships.
Is it difficult to forgive? Yes, it can be very challenging? Have most of us struggled with forgiving others? Double, triple, quadruple YES! Have I struggled in the area of forgiveness? Honestly, I must be totally truthful. I have! Again, what has helped me in this area is my faith, and in knowing that FORGIVENESS is NOT for the person who hurt, persecuted, or caused trauma; FORGIVENESS FREES ME! For me, it was an eye-opener in that as long as I walked in unforgiveness, I was stagnated in certain areas yet when I chose to forgive there was a new found freedom, and a weight lifted.
I wouldn’t dare tell you the pain you have experienced or are experiencing is not real. I wouldn’t dare say I know the depths of the wrongful words said to you, about you, or the negative actions done to you. What I can tell you is FORGIVENESS, can be difficult yet it can be done if you are open to the process. For some people, they forgive easily and quickly yet there are others where forgiveness is a process. Whether it comes quickly for you or it is a process hopefully you will arrive at the destination of forgiving.
According to an article in John Hopkins Medicine, studies have found that the act of forgiveness can promote enormous rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. Unforgiveness is toxic to YOU. Unforgiveness limits you in areas where you are destined to excel. Unforgiveness makes adult children not to speak to parents for years. Unforgiveness can causes sisters/brothers not speak to each other over a silly argument. Unforgiveness can cause a happy home filled with love become a house of arguments, frustration, and isolation.
I ask you, are there people you need to forgive? Do you feel unforgiveness crippling you in certain areas in your life? I know you may say, this is just too hard for me to even think about-------- I can’t forgive. Seek counsel from someone you trust (pastor, counselor, parent, sibling). Share what’s truly on your heart regarding the situation. Be open to listening, really listen to what they share with you. Truly, look within yourself and see how unforgiveness is impacting your life. Please know Forgiving others may be difficult but in Forgiving others YOU EXPERIENCE A FREEDOM LIKE NEVER BEFORE.