When we hurt on the inside we often take it out on others. Instead of forgiving, we compromise and say “You’ve hurt me too much to forgive.” The famous expression “hurt people hurt people” occurs when we choose not to forgive. This unforgiveness consumes our body and it forces itself onto others; even when you don’t mean it. Then you end feel guilty for responding negatively because, that person may not have had anything to with why you are hurt.
Nobody knows the hurt you have experienced but you can’t move on with your life unless you forgive and let it go. This doesn’t mean you forget but it surrenders your right to get even and respond negatively. You are replacing evil with good.
Matthew 5:44 tells us to “love our enemies and pray for those that persecute you.”
I know this can be particularly hard when traumatic events occur. We may not want to forgive the person. I know I could care less if my offender was in some kind of dire situation. That would be great, but I know that isn’t going to happen (well who knows). But, regardless of how much I despised my offender, I knew I had to forgive. Not for them, but for myself. I deserved peace. We should forgive even though they don’t deserve it or ask.
Dr. Zack Carter (2017) identifies the personal, intrapersonal benefits of forgiving as well as the detriments of not forgiving another in his article “Freedom in Forgiveness.”
Extensive research has proven that a lack of trust is developed, hindering a person from developing future close relationships. How many of us are guilty of not letting people in because we are afraid to trust and think something bad might happen if we allow them into our personal space.
When individuals choose not to forgive someone who has done us harm they will withdraw from social relationships and experience deep loneliness. Dr. Carter suggests that although the leading casual causes of mistrust and loneliness is; depression and anxiety, but deeply rooted stress is one particular motivation that is often overlooked.
Our bodies are incapable of dealing with stress, and when high-levels of stress occur it leads to deterioration in our health. Our emotional and mental health decline as well. Dealing with emotions such a resentment and bitterness can eat you alive like cancer. All the resentment and bitterness you harbor towards the people who have hurt you in the past isn’t going to change the past, and it certainly doesn’t change the future. All it does is spoil today.
The people in your past are in the past. They cannot continue to hurt you unless you choose to hold onto the hurt. Let go of your need to get even and leave it up to God. Life isn’t fair and we may not think forgiveness is fair (that’s grace), but one day God will settle the score for you. He will right that wrong. Just work on forgiving so that you can be at peace in your heart.
Stop letting everything around you, control you. You can’t offer to others what you don’t possess yourself. You become unloving when you keep a record of all the wrongdoings, but when you decide to let it go and bless those that have hurt you then, your letting God’s love work through you. People can take many things away from you, but your attitude belongs to you. Make the decision to not waste one more day being miserable and decide to forgive.
Talk it over:
How did unforgiveness play a role with the person who hurt you?
What hurt from the past still brings pain? How can forgiveness help you move forward?
How can blessing someone who’s hurt you help you see that person’s hurt more clearly?
Source: Carter, Z. (2017). Freedom in Forgiveness. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/clear-communication/201706/freedom-in-forgiveness