Forgiving someone, or even ourselves, can be one of the most emotionally challenging obstacles in life. Perhaps because of this truth, there is an art to forgiving. It is all about letting go of past feelings and the dead weight of grudges. Whether you are in a position where you need to forgive yourself, someone else, or even if you have someone who is unforgiving towards you, these words are for you!
THE UNFORGIVENESS TRAP
Why don’t we want to forgive others? This is a rhetorical question we should all ask ourselves at times. Forgiving someone is difficult. It is hard to clothe ourselves with the maturity, wisdom, and strength to find forgiveness after someone took a bat to your personal feelings. The magnitude of the offense and whether it was family or a stranger determines the difficulty of forgiveness.
How does unforgiveness hinder us? It’s called the “unforgiveness trap” for a reason. Having resentment towards someone only kindles the flames of unforgiveness and hatred inside of us! We cannot progress in life or be at our best if we have that burden of unforgiveness strapped at our ankles that keeps us stumbling every time we try to move forward. The more resistant we are about forgiving others, the longer that negative energy sticks around like a pretentious companion. This pretentious companion will keep reminding you of the past and why you shouldn’t forgive the person who hurt you. This dangles in the back of our minds and will throw us off course if we are not careful.
But the only way to unfriend this “pretentious companion” is to find the courage to forgive. Forgiveness is a gateway to personal freedom.
Forgiveness liberates you.Holding a grudge towards someone, or even harboring an unforgiving spirit creates a bondage. Once you choose to forgive your loved one, or your BFF, for their faults, you will find it easier to focus on what matters most: yourself.
Learn to forgive even if people don’t apologize. There are so many people in life who will offend you or hurt you in some way, and not even apologize for it. If they don’t utter a sincere “I’m sorry…” even after you address them, be the bigger person and forgive their offense. It may be sohard to do because it takes so much strength and maturity. But think of how difficult your days will be if you keep that hurt inside of you. The fact that you already forgave them with no apology means you’ve taken the first step towards healing. The only one who has to deal with the issue is the offender.
Forgiveness is an act of love.Having a strong, genuine love for others means forgiving them will be more effortless. Forgiveness stems from love and it’s difficult to stay angry at someone you love so much.
Don’t rejoice when your enemyfalls. Our enemies are also human and have needs just as well as we do. Genuinely loving those who do us wrong helps us forgive faster. We take pleasure in the wrong things when we find joy in anyone’s misfortunes.
WHAT IF PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO FORGIVE YOU?
Forgive them anyway. This may be the hardest step, but it is the most important. Once you genuinely forgive the offender, you will be able to move on in your life even if the other person has a hard time letting go, admitting their wrong or even forgiving you for your part in the conflict.
Love on them in action.Don’t ignore the other person, or bring up the past in a confrontational way. If you’ve already apologized, you have done your part. Continue to be there for them and support them when they need it. It may soften their hearts in due time.
Don’t force them to forgive you. Instead, let their forgiveness come naturally because that is when it is most genuine, no matter how long they take to come around. And they will come aroundespecially when they remember the strong foundation the relationship is built on.
Forgiveness is contagious.When we forgive, it makes others want to forgive because of the liberating feeling that results from it. What can you do today, or even this month, to free yourself from the cell of unforgiveness?