They don’t deserve to be forgiven. When someone’s hurt or wronged us, it’s natural for us to get mad. Sometimes their actions change our lives indefinitely. Even if they apologize, it may not take away the hurt. Having to forgive them just isn’t fair.
So we hold onto our anger or resentment, ruminating on how bad they hurt or offended us. If we forgive them, then we’re just “letting them off the hook” as if it doesn’t matter. Or are we?
Why does the Bible tell us to forgive each other? Does God want His children to be run over roughshod? God loves us and wants what’s best for us. Having other people trample all over us would contradict that. But forgiving others makes sense.
Many years ago my life changed dramatically after a surgery that I’d had multiple times before. This time, some complications left me permanently disabled. When I realized I’d never be able to work again, I was furious. Mad at the surgeon and angry at God. The worst part, though, was feeling alone in it all.
The more I focused on everything I’d lost, the worse it got. I lugged the weight around like a ton of bricks. Finally the load became too heavy. I had to get rid of it.
I sought help and began to relinquish my right to be mad. As I let my anger go, the load lightened. Eventually, I gave it up altogether and forgave everyone involved. Only then could I reach out and help other people again.
Forgiving someone doesn’t give them permission to hurt us again. Forgiving the doctor didn’t mean I forgot about what happened either. Instead, it freed me to cope. It released me from the chains of anger and bitterness that had bound me.
When you’ve been wronged, you can hold a grudge, which will imprison you, or you can forgive them, freeing yourself to live fully again. Choose to forgive.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and jessieagudo7.)
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