Offense will come. At some point, someone you love, someone you trust, is going to hurt you. They may lie. They may cheat. They may steal. They may break your confidence. They may take the person you love from your outstretched arms. They may reject you, abandon you, cast you out of their presence. And even a deeper cut… they may hurt someone you love. Why should I forgive them? Why not with Captain Ahab utter the words, “For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”
1) We are not innocent.
This is the hardest truth to swallow. By holding onto a grievance, we are claiming a position of moral high ground. We are forced to convince ourself and others that we were good and they were evil. And in some cases, there may be a hero and a villain. But we wear both hats. We need to be forgiven. There has been a day where the blood is on your hands. You have been the betrayer. And on this day, you needed someone to show you grace. You needed to be forgiven.
Because we are not innocent, because we have needed forgiveness, it puts us as equals with the person/people with whom we hold our grudge. They are not monsters. They are mere mortals, like you and like me. And because you are not a hero, you find yourself in the position on having to give the very thing you have so often needed.
2) Bitterness poisons the soul
Joanna Weaver is credited with saying, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” You have anger at someone. You fault someone for how they did you wrong. And life goes on. They may not even know you have this grievance. But it’s there in you. This dislike. This bitterness. And it spreads. It grows. Time makes it twist and turn and grow deep. It become a root.
When you hold a grudge, you don’t hurt them. You hurt yourself. You make yourself lesser. You give away your sweetness, your joy, your peace. You hold onto that hate, let it make a home in you, and before you know it you are a hate-filled person. You don’t want to be that person.
3) Take your power back.
When you hate someone, when you fault someone forever, you have given them amazing power. You allow a single action in time to be relived over and over again. It’s like they stabbed you once, and the knife just stayed there in your shirt. And you keep letting it stab you over and over and over again. This past hurt is not a scar, it is a wound. You are keeping it open and bleeding.
They may be out living their life, doing their thing, and you are stuck on what was done to you. You become a perpetual victim, and you allow them to be your forever victimizer. Forgive them so you can move on. Forgive them so they have no power over you. Forgive them so that you can grow. Don’t let them be the climax of your life.
These are a few beginning thoughts. Next week… The How of Forgiveness.