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Do you want to forgive someone?
When someone does something against us we always have a choice if to forgive them or if to continue to hold a grudge against them, until time has passed or we have had our revenge.
Our ability to forgive, without much effort, is not only dependent upon the amount of hurt caused to us but is also dependent on our upbringing, our culture and our temperament. There is no doubt that some people find it easier to forgive than others. Our ability to leave the past behind and move on is really important for the well-being of our bodies, our thoughts and our emotions – as well as our relationships.
Unforgiveness can be a bit like an addiction
People say that the first step to overcoming an addiction is to admit that you are addicted because once you have faced the issue and admitted your weakness you can begin to work on those areas where you are weak. Unforgiveness can be a bit like an addiction as people often don’t realise that they suffer from it, it cripples and destroys their lives and the lives of those around them. People often want to hold on to the hurt they have experienced so as to not let off the person who has wronged them.
Do you want to let go? Or do you want to hold on? It is often good to stop and think about why… why do you not want to forgive?
It is important to forgive
The Bible tells us that it is important that we forgive people – important for us physically, emotionally and spiritually.
True forgiveness is when we treat someone as if they had never done that horrible thing to us. It is when we let them off and let them begin again as if it had never happened. We are told that if we believe in Jesus then this is exactly how God forgives us. God lets us off, he allows us to start again, he treats us as if we hadn’t done anything against him, as if the slate has been wiped clean! True forgiveness is when, if someone hurts us again, it doesn’t hurt us more because it’s happened before – the first time they did it has been completely forgiven!
It is so much easier to forgive people who we feel deserve it but what about those that have done nothing to deserve forgiveness? The Bible tells us that God forgives people even though they don’t deserve it and that we need to follow his example and forgive undeserving people too! We need to understand that all of us make mistakes, all of us make unwise choices and all of us are capable of doing something hurtful to someone else. The more we can understand the person and sympathise with their weaknesses the more we will find it easier to begin the forgiveness process.
If you find it to hard to even want to forgive someone then if you won’t do it for their benefit, do it for your benefit! Try to remember that unforgiveness often hurts you emotionally, physically and spiritually more than it hurts the other person! Pray and ask Jesus to help you forgive them or to help you to want to begin to forgive them or even to want to want to begin to forgive them! AND if you are a Christian try to remember how much God has forgiven you and use that to motivate you to be more forgiving towards others.
Forgiveness and on-going friendship
There are some situations when it is not safe or a good idea to continue to spend time with someone even though you have forgiven them – maybe they are abusive or a danger to you and those around you. This is only true in some specific situations and should not be used as an excuse not to forgive someone properly.