When someone you care about hurts you, you can respond in one of two ways. You can either hold on to the hurt, anger, bitterness, and resentment… or you can choose to forgive and move on.
Now, the logical response is obvious, right? Especially when it applies to others’ circumstances. It’s easy to encourage someone else to forgive. In fact, most times we don’t understand why anyone would choose not to forgive.
Even though it makes perfect sense to forgive, it is one of the hardest things to do.
Forgiveness can mean different things to different people… and that’s ok. But generally speaking, it is a deliberate decision to relinquish any anger, bitterness, and resentment you experienced because of someone else’s hurtful actions or words.
Hear me out, sister. I am not suggesting that forgiveness is about forgetting or even excusing the hurt you experienced. Nor am I insinuating that you make up with the offender and go about life like nothing ever happened.
The hurt of the offense might stick around for a bit, but forgiveness will significantly loosen its grip and free you from any control the offender has on you.
If you let it, forgiveness will deliver a type of peace that will help you move forward. It will also foster a sense of understanding, empathy, and even compassion toward the one responsible for your hurt.
When you experience hurt by someone, particularly from someone you love and trust, it is natural to experience confusion, sadness, anger, etc.
But when you become consumed with the behaviors surrounding your circumstances or situation, it is highly likely that feelings of resentment, bitterness, and vengeance will take root.
And those suckers can attach themselves as deep as the eyes of a russet potato in the rich, dark soil of a summer garden.
These negative emotions can slam the door on any positive thoughts that try to take up residency in your heart of mind.
Sure, some people are just naturally more forgiving than others. But as long as you’re willing, anyone can learn how to forgive.
The weight of unforgiveness is a burden you don’t have to carry. And it comes with some pretty unpleasant consequences that could be avoided.
Here are some signs that you might be harboring resentment in your heart:
Symptoms of Unforgiveness
- You transfer bitterness and resentment to other relationships and experiences.
- You lose connection with those you love.
- You become sad, anxious, and depressed.
- You become so consumed with what’s wrong in your life that you can’t enjoy what’s right.
- You take your anger out on those you love.
Forgiveness is a personal commitment to an authentic process of intentional change.
In order to move from the suffering you are experiencing from your hurt, I encourage you to take the following steps toward healing and restoration.
How Can I Experience the Freedom of Forgiveness?
Understand the value of forgiveness and recognize how it will improve your life and relationships.
Step back and identify your hurt, as well as who needs to be forgiven and what they need to be forgiven for.
Talk it out with someone you can trust. Be open-minded and willing to consider other perspectives. (*Bonus points if you have someone who allows you to word vomit and blow off a little steam.)
Acknowledge your emotions, as well as how they may be affecting your behavior. Choose to forgive.
LET IT GO… Step away from your role as a victim and relinquish the control the offender and their behavior has had on you.
Keep in mind that forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation. However, forgiveness can definitely lead to reconciliation.
Sometimes reconciliation is neither possible nor appropriate, particularly if the offender is no longer living or unwilling to communicate with you. But forgiveness is on you and is 100% possible if you’re willing to do the work.
Is there someone you need to exercise forgiveness toward? If so, take that first step toward unloading that unnecessary weight and experience the freedom that comes with true forgiveness.