If you're anything like me then you think forgiveness is like going to the dentist for your 6 month cleaning. You know you really should go, but you hate it...and would do just about anything to get out of it. It's no fun at all, annoying, and can be painful. All our lives we are taught "forgive and forget". Being told to forgive someone gives me anxiety. I sort of wrinkle up my face and cross my arms...why should I?
Here's the thing. We've all be hurt by someone. That hurt can do so many things- most often it turns into anger, or bitterness. To forgive someone doesn't mean you have to forget what someone did to you, or that it makes it okay to do it again. What forgiveness does, in my opinion, is allows you to turn a negative situation into a positive one. When you forgive someone, you are bringing a sense of peace into the conflict. Rather than plotting ways to get revenge or dwelling on your hurt feelings, You are saying "Okay, I'm hurt, but I am strong enough to say that I can forgive you, and move on with my life". By forgiving the person who hurt you, you are putting the control back in your hands. You are no longer the victim, they do not have power over you. I think we often dismiss forgiveness because it feels like we are giving the person another chance, but it is really quite the opposite.
Forgiveness is hard, especially if the other person won't admit to their wrong doing or maybe they didn't even know that they hurt you. But just because something is hard does not mean we don't do it. We try. Write about it. Pray about it. You will be able to do it once you realize the peace that will come with it.
A few years ago I was hurt really badly by one of my best friends. It wasn't just one little fight or misunderstanding, it was one big mess of lies and petty drama. This person knew they had control over me, so they did whatever they could do belittle me...from leaving me angry drunk voice mails about how it was all my fault to completely ignoring me. It hurt, especially coming from someone who used to be so close to me, a person who was there for me in my hardest times. For a while I just didn't speak to this person. I thought this was the easiest solution. I held a major grudge and when people would ask me about it, I got very defensive. It took a lot for me to forgive them, but eventually I did, because I couldn't keep living with pent up anger and bitterness. I wrote them a letter stating my forgiveness. With forgiveness came peace. Am I friends with this person? No. Does it hurt? Sometimes...but I know in the end it was the best thing for us. I miss the good times we shared together but I am so glad we have been able to move forward. I can promise you that if I had not stepped up and forgave them, they would still have control over me to do this day.
So...if there is someone out there you need to forgive...push past the fear, the annoyance and just take a leap and do it. Pray about it.