What Wisdom Has Taught Me About Forgiveness
Once someone has hurt me why should I say "I am sorry" or even consider forgiving them? Is forgiveness necessary or can I just walk away and never say anything to them. If I don't forgive, does it hurt me?
What is Forgiveness
First of all, forgiveness is hard. It is not an act that is we look forward to. Forgiveness is a sincere, conscious and deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment, hurt, or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve it or asked for it. This is why we don't like it and have a hard time with it.
What Forgiveness Is Not
Forgiveness is the release of feelings. However, you do not have to gloss over or deny the seriousness of what was done to you. It was an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean that you forget and never remember. It also does not mean that you condone or excuse what was done to you. Depending on what occurred and what happened to you, it doesn't obligate you to reconcile, get back together, become best friends again, or release them from legal accountability.
What If I Don't Want to Forgive
Usually, our first reaction is, no way! I was hurt! I don't have to. Why should I? Forgiveness can go through the same process as grieving. You have experienced a loss. The loss is trust, a friend, or a relationship. First there is denial and isolation; second, anger; third, bargaining; fourth, depression and finally fifth, acceptance. Depending on the offense and the person the order of the steps may change, but you will experience them all.
Why Should I Forgive
Forgiveness can help you repair a damaged relationship. It will give you back your peace and free you from anger. You will be freed from negative feelings, feelings of vengeance and revenge. You will be able to heal and move on with your life. It is true that hurt people, hurt people. If you don't forgive, you will become bitter and will not be able to trust or love others. Unforgiveness will stunt your progress and growth. Forgiveness and unforgiveness will affect us spiritually, emotionally and physically. For this reason, it cannot be left unresolved.
Wisdom Regarding Forgiveness
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 NIV All of us have sinned and need forgiveness.“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” Matthew 6:14-15 NIV God is right there, and He is willing and ready to forgive each one of us. However, He asks that we extend the same forgiveness to others first. The bottom line is that if we don't forgive others, God will not forgive us. Therefore we can't have resentment, hate, and bitterness in our hearts and expect to receive forgiveness from God.“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” Matthew 5:23-24 NIV If you have bitterness in your heart it is a sin and it will break your fellowship with God.“Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” Matthew 18:21-22 NIV With God anything is possible, even though it may seem impossible. Jesus does not want, nor does he allow us to withhold forgiveness.We should never allow others to take advantage of our forgiveness. God gave us the ability to be reasonable and make wise choices. When you hold on to resentment, it will only take our joy and harm the other party. We should repeatedly forgive because God commands it and He knows what’s best for our lives. Let Him heal us and give us the ability to forgive. Our eternity is dependent on it.