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 easily, 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 body, our thoughts and our emotions – as well as our relationships.
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 because they think that if they don’t they are letting the person who wronged them get away with it.
Do you want to let go? Or do you want to hold on?
If you want to hold rather than let go, it is important to stop and think about why? Why do you not want 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 don’t think harshly towards the person that wronged. This does not mean we just carry on where we left off, trust is something that people need to earn. It does mean that we should allow them to begin to show they deserve to be trusted again.
If we believe in Jesus then God lets us off the bad things we have done – but similarly he doesn’t always remove all the consequences!
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!
It is so much easier to forgive people who we feel deserve to be forgiven 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 remember 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 too hard to even want to forgive someone then if you won’t do it for their benefit, do it for your own 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 if you find doing that is too hard, pray that you will want to begin to forgive them (or even to want to want to begin to forgive them). If you are a Christian try to remember how much God has forgiven you and use that to help motivate you to be more forgiving towards others.
If you don’t know if God has forgiven you then we can help you with this.
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.