We’ve all felt the frustration and disappointment of putting off things we could have done today for tomorrow. A life-changing decision. Going the extra mile. Saying sorry. Visiting someone. Repairing a broken relationship. Expressing love. Asking for forgiveness. And yes, forgiving someone ~ the topic of today’s blog entry. Each new day presents yet another opportunity. Again, it’s wasted. We are not ready. Too hectic. It’s rather difficult. Sometimes, we simply don’t want to.
What happens when we are offended or hurt by someone? Actions that result in deep wounds. Emotional scars. Feelings of disenchantment. It’s happened to all of us. Be it real or imagined. A criticism from a family member or friend. We were deserted in an hour of need. A coworker or classmate tried to sabotage our efforts on a project. A betrayal of trust. A spouse, partner, or boyfriend cheated. A relationship was abusive. A careless driver totaled the car. A thief broke into our home, and stole our life’s work. A loan was never repaid. The list is infinite. We’ve felt the pain. Heartache. Anguish. The sting. The throbbing.
It is relatively simple to hold a grudge. Not as easy to let go. When someone hurts us, feelings of anger, perplexity, and despondency swiftly settle in. We dwell on them. They fester. We feel entitled. Justified. Anger is validated. The feelings gave way to grudges. Hostility. Thoughts of revenge. Negative feelings overshadow positive ones. We become swaddled by our own acrimony, and sense of evenhandedness. Grudge enters. Makes itself at home. Slowly stewing. Simmering. Waiting. Do we find a way for this unwelcomed guest to leave? Or do we treat it like water in the middle of a desert?
What does holding a grudge do for us? Has anyone ever benefitted by holding onto them? Let me know. Please. Instead, it invites bitterness into every new relationship and experience. Preventing us from enjoying the here and now. New relationships are shunned. It is a breeding ground for melancholy. Angst is cultivated. Bitterness, revenge, and justice receive continual nourishment.
If our tomorrow was cancelled, would we still be carrying a grudge? Refuse to forgive? Words such as pardon, end of blame, absolution, have been used to describe the act of forgiveness. It’s also the choice to let go of thoughts of vengeance, and feelings of animosity. Easier said than done. Incredibly difficult for some. Not all of us are ready to forgive. Others are downright unwilling to do so.
Forgiveness is power, not a weakness. It empowers both the giver and the receiver. Make the decision to not let anger, resentment, and misery rule your life. Yes, some things are much harder to forgive than others. But how long have you been holding onto that grudge? The bitterness? How much longer will the person, situation, or event control your life? Grudges hold us hostage. Limits our friendships and relationships. Opportunities. Being able to grow. To Learn. To trust.
Forgiving someone does not excuse or diminish the offense. Nor does it justify the act. Forgiveness is not easy. It is not an assurance of a reunion .Compromise. Ceasefire. Nor does it mean the offender will change. Or admit to wrong doing. Nevertheless, it does mean freedom. From a tortured soul. Anger. Pain. Resentment. Bitterness. The power to control your life and relationships.
We might be the one requiring forgiveness. It means recognizing our blunders and inadequacies as human beings. Owning up to our mistakes. Swallowing our pride. Asking someone to forgive us. Talk to someone about it. Write about it in your journal. Pray about it. Actively chose to forgive. It’s tempting to feel a sense of entitlement. Refuse to see yourself as a victim. Think about the time when you hurt someone. Was it easy for them to forgive you?
Peter came to Jesus and asked him how often he should forgive his brother who offended him. Was it seven times? In essence, the Lord responded “No, seventy times seven”. That is quite the tallying task if you ask me! Let’s hope that if tomorrow is cancelled, we are not carrying a grudge. I am not advocating burying our heads in the sand. Nor leaving ourselves vulnerable to hurt and pain. Know this; things have a way of taking care of themselves.
Writing is therapeutic for me. Many of the topics I blog about, are things I have either triumphed over, or still struggling with. In this way, I am responsible for changing my own life. Are there people that I need to forgive? A few. Am I working on it? Yes! How is the process? Difficult. Rewarding. Am I happy with the changes? Immensely!
If your tomorrow was cancelled, what would you do today? As for forgiveness, Paul Boese sums it up this way: “Forgiveness does not change the past, it enlarges the future”
This is my take, what’s yours?