Why oh why do we all struggle with forgiveness? It is one of the hardest things to do. Every single one of us have been hurt, most of us have apologized, some of us have asked for forgiveness, but most of us are unwilling to forgive. It’s one of the healthiest thing we could ever do for ourselves, it doesn’t cost a THING, but yet so many people are resistant. Forgiveness brings healing, but yet people all the time refuse to even consider doing it. Why? Because we are not willing to give up our right to be angry. We want to stay mad. We want revenge. We want to hurt the person who hurt us. We want them to PAY and pay NOW. We are angry, we have every right to be, and we want justice for ourselves. So to ask us to forgive? Most people will angrily respond “when hell freezes over!”
BUT I WANT TO GET EVEN!
We don’t want to forgive, we want to get even. We are out for blood, we are out for revenge. You did that to me? So now I’m going to do this to YOU! And so it goes. The world wouldn’t be as half as ugly as it is now if everyone could learn to forgive each other. We are all walking wounded, in some way shape or form, even if you can’t necessarily see it in some people. Some people hide their hurt well. Others wear it on their sleeve. Others you know instantly, because it’s all they can talk about. The minute you see that person coming, you KNOW they are going to complain and tell you all about how they are a victim, because so and so hurt them. Yes, it is our right to talk about what happens to us, but when you get stuck in the pattern of revenge, and re-live and re-tell the offences against you, you will never be able to move on and heal. Revenge will damage you, even if it feels momentarily good to get even. The best advice is contained in the picture above. Only get even with those who have helped you! Very profound!
Wanting revenge is a very powerful emotion. When someone hurts us, we want to hurt back, oh yes we do. Whether it’s trading insults, swearing, cutting someone off in traffic, sending a nasty text or email, or slamming down the phone in someone’s ear, we find ways to get even. We look for ways to sabotage the other person, whether its gossip, online bullying, name calling, and some go as far as even renting and posting up billboard ads. I tell you, revenge is a strong business. Is it healthy? Definitely NOT!
When someone hurts us, we become resentful, and every time we see that person, we have a negative reaction. Imagine if it’s your spouse that hurt you. Wow. Your marriage will be awful. If you can’t learn how to communicate and forgive, there is no chance for your marriage to ever work. We need to be able to talk to each other. This goes for anyone in your life, not just your spouse. What if it’s your parent? Do you avoid them the rest of your life? Family is so incredibly tricky. Think of resentment as plaque on your teeth. It builds and builds, and if you don’t scrape it off, it can damage your teeth and destroy your gums. That’s what resentment does. It builds and builds, and one day it will explode and the results will not be pretty. It will probably lead to broken relationships. It will always lead to worse hurt. We need to learn how to communicate, and say how we feel, instead of letting resentment build in our hearts. Mad at your hubby because he never helps cook or clean? Talk to him about it! Don’t mutter under your breath. Mad at your kids because they never clean their room? Never put the toilet seat down? Take a deep breath, and realize that unless you learn how to talk, you will have resentment. You could have a list of a hundred things that people do or don’t do that bothers you, but unless it’s important, you need to ditch that list, and get rid of some of your unrealistic expectations towards others. Just because you would or wouldn’t do something a certain way, doesn’t mean that someone else has to.
I’M STILL MAD
Of course you’re still mad. Pain hurts! Some of us will still be mad hours later after the offence. Maybe even days later. Maybe even weeks later. Some of us only stay mad momentarily (myself, the longest I have stayed mad is one day, but it’s usually five minutes tops!) But if you’re still mad over a year later, then you need to seriously make some changes in your thoughts.
It’s your habits that determine the quality of your life. Your thoughts will control your health, your relationships, and everything else. If you don’t learn how to create good thoughts, you will be stuck in a rut and cycle of pain and disappointment. If you want to change your life, you need to change your thoughts. If you are always thinking of “poor me, look what happened to me” and you make sure you talk about it with all your friends, do you really think you can enjoy life? No. All you’re doing is trying to generate sympathy, so you can feel better about yourself. Stop! Whatever hurt you is done. It’s over. Yes, it may or may not have far reaching consequences, but it’s done. You cannot change it. No matter of how much you complain about how much someone hurt you, that event will never be erased. It’s history. All of us need to learn to let things go, so we can focus on what is important in life. And what is important? Loving others. Being kind. Being tolerant. Think of the fruit of the spirit!
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
I’m not perfect, and I struggle with pain in my life from different sources. I can easily wallow in self pity, and sometimes I sink into the pity party pool. But I have trained my brain that when I start thinking those dangerous thoughts, I immediately change them. I refuse to allow myself to dwell on them. I refuse to let myself sink into despair. I haven’t always done this – it has only been the last few years. Self control is important. You can change your mind, you can change your thoughts. Change your thoughts, change your life!
DITCH YOUR PRIDE
Forgiveness doesn’t cost a thing – except maybe your pride. And for the record? NO, you aren’t being weak when you forgive someone, it actually means you are strong. Seriously. Only strong people are able to forgive. Why? Because they are giving UP their right to stay angry. They are giving UP their right to seek revenge. They are giving UP their right to get even. They are choosing to release mercy to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Now, none of us deserve mercy, but yet God extends it to all of us. He is always willing to forgive us, and when he does, he REMOVES it from his memory. God doesn’t hold it against us. It’s gone – as far as the east is from the west. Gone. We don’t want to forgive, because we don’t want to let go. Our pride says, “but they OWE US”. No, they don’t. Even if someone never apologizes, learn to forgive them anyway. That is the most powerful forgiveness you can ever give.
THE GREATEST REVENGE IS COMPASSION
If you want to seek revenge, then learn how to be kind. Seriously. The best revenge is being merciful and kind to someone who is mean to you. Why is it revenge? Because that person will become so frustrated when they realize that no matter what they do – they cannot hurt you. What they do or say cannot touch you. When they gossip and try to slander you to others, it backfires when those people see that you don’t react, and you are not what they say you are. Kill people with kindness. That is the only way to win with someone who refuses to forgive. Isn’t it ironic that the person who was the first victim (the person who was hurt) becomes a person to be pitied and disliked for how they behave when they are intent on revenge? The unforgiving victim turns into the monster. Revenge is always ugly. Revenge is a monster. People want love, not anger. Even if your revengeful anger isn’t directed at your friends, they will get tired of hearing about how angry you are, and how unfair your life is. We don’t need angry revengeful friends that always complain. Anger is poison, and it will seep out of every pore in your body. So, you want to get rid of the smell? Pour out the poison. Learn to forgive. Learn why you should forgive. Learn that the greatest revenge is being kind and merciful.
EXTEND FORGIVENESS TODAY
Decide today to extend forgiveness to the person(s) who hurt you. Choose to let go and truly live, by extending mercy and forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve it. Make the decision to carry on with your life, and don’t waste another minute on what has happened in the past. It doesn’t matter if it’s your fault or not. You have the choice to determine your destiny. You don’t have to remain stuck, you can choose the hand that is held out. It’s the hand of forgiveness – God’s gift to us. As he forgives us, we need to learn how to forgive too. God takes away our pain, and holds it for us. He carries the weight of it, instead of us being crushed by trying to haul it around every day.
Let It Go
THE ELIMINATION DIET
A PRAYER OF FORGIVENESS
FORGIVING DOESN’T NEED TO BE HARD
Change your heart, change your thoughts, change your mind, and you will be able to forgive! Try it today!