Have you ever felt bitterness so deep toward someone that it eats away at you? It’s constantly on your mind. It affects your mood and the way you treat people. Someone did something to you that hurt you so deeply and caused you so much pain; you couldn’t let it go no matter how hard you tried. Maybe they knew they hurt you, maybe they didn’t. Maybe it was a loved one, someone close to you. Maybe it was a complete and total stranger. In the end, it doesn’t really matter, because the damage was done.
Trust me when I say I understand what it is like to hold onto something like that and hold onto it with all the power and strength I have. I find it’s astonishingly easy to hold onto a grudge and to wallow in the grief someone has caused you. It’s scary how much easier it is to choose to be angry and bitter.
“But at the end of the day, I truly believe holding onto something so negative causes you more harm then the person who hurt you.”
When you hold on tightly to a grudge the only thing you end up feeling is self-pity and bitterness in your heart. All you end up thinking about is you, you, you. You can become numb and you’re held hostage in a prison of anger, negatively affecting the way you feel about those around you. It’s a feeling that overpowers you. Yet, even though holding onto a grudge is overwhelmingly strong, I believe there is something that is so much stronger.
Don’t Associate Forgiveness as a Weakness
I think people often associate forgiveness with weakness. But I would disagree and say that it is actually quite the opposite. People, including myself, underestimate how powerful forgiveness really is.
It’s a decision that is incredibly hard because it’s not something that is just based on feelings but on a choice.
“It’s a choice to let something go, to let the past be forgotten and move on, even when it’s really difficult to do so. When you choose to forgive you deny yourself the self-pity that stems from the bitterness we so desperately cling to and we let go.”
We let go and find something so much greater and that’s freedom. We have the freedom to boldly and bravely look at the bigger picture in life. We are free to choose love and forgiveness and in turn open up a world of opportunities and possibilities. We have the freedom to choose to love instead of hate and forgive instead of resent. Having the capability to do something like this is extremely amazing, yet extremely tough. But I’ve learned we can’t do it on our own fickle strength.
I truly believe it is on God’s strength that we rely to forgive someone for whatever wrong they may have caused in your life.
When you do choose to forgive, even when you don’t feel like doing so, you will feel the effects of forgiving the person. Whether it is right away or later on in life, I believe you will experience a weight being lifted off of your shoulders and your heart will feel light.
A burden that has been holding you down, suffocating you and your ability to be happy will be lifted and you will feel like you can finally breathe again. Real, deep down in your heart forgiveness will not only cover up the scratches you have on the surface but the wounds you have deep down.
When you choose forgiveness you choose joy. The joy you will experience from forgiveness gives you a taste of the same forgiveness God relishes on us; the forgiveness we don’t deserve yet he freely gave us. What a beautiful thing that is!
A woman named Corrie Ten Boom
When I think of the power of forgiveness I think of woman named Corrie Ten Boom.
Corrie was a Dutch woman who experienced the horrors of the holocaust and sorrows of living in a concentration camp where she lost her sister. But despite the terror Corrie went through she was able to go on and evangelize about the goodness of God and forgive those who wronged her and her family. I think this is because Corrie believed in something greater than herself or her circumstances. She believed in something that would free her from her past and bring hope to her future.
Corrie believed in the power of forgiveness.
Yes, forgiveness is by no means easy. I believe it’s one of the hardest things you can do. The person you choose to forgive may never know that they hurt you and the pain you have had to live with and that’s incredibly hard. It’s also incredibly hard to love someone who you believe doesn’t deserve it. But when you choose to forgive I believe love will transform your heart and that transformation outweighs all the pain. You will find true healing when you forgive. Forgiveness is an act of obeying God and he will lead you down gentle and wonderful paths full of his love and mercy and through that you can experience an abundant life.