Bitterness Is the Problem
Bitterness arises from anger left to rot. Even a small amount of this vile brew will cloud the waters of life. Many people suffer, their minds and hearts darkened by the poison of bitterness. I used to be one of these people but now I walk in freedom!
What Is Forgiveness, Exactly?
Forgiveness is choosing to let someone off the hook when they don’t deserve it. Has anyone ever hurt you? The only way to rid yourself of that anger and pain is through the deliberate act of forgiveness. Forgiveness says “What you did hurt me/was wrong but I choose not to hold it against you. Freely I relinquish my right to vengeance.”
But I CAN’T Forgive!
Some offenses are much easier to forgive than others. I find self-talk helpful when trying to understand the other person’s motivation, thereby making forgiveness less challenging. I often repeat one of the following phrases to myself when someone has hurt or offended me. He/she is going through a hard time. He/she had a messed up childhood/family life. Hurt people hurt people. They must have had a very frustrating day. They mean well. They think that they’re doing the right thing. They didn’t mean to hurt me. They actually don’t know any better. It’s helpful to try to feel where the other person is coming from.
Sometimes what a person has done is truly wrong and deeply hurtful. At times like this, I turn to God. Certain things in my life I found impossible to forgive; even prayer didn’t seem to work. I know the Bible calls us to forgive; I wanted to but…I didn’t feel it. The anger and pain were still there, even after I had prayed. Then I discovered the value of praying WITH someone. When I prayed with someone about these issues, it was like thorns of pain were pulled out of my soul. And then I COULD forgive!
Praying blessings upon the person is an excellent way to seal the forgiveness within yourself. Ask God to give that person all the good things you want for yourself.
Walk in Freedom!
The only way to stay free is to continue to forgive. As long as we live on this Earth, there will be people who hurt and offend us. Forgive, forgive, forgive, every time – just like Jesus offers forgiveness freely and repeatedly to us.