We as humans struggle with the concept of forgiveness. To many of us, to forgive, means to “roll over and take it,” and THAT, we’re not having! Nosiree!
So we “make them pay.” We punish them with our resentment, and we gossip to our friends about how they hurt us. Do we feel better now? Really? Oh, I know, there’s that fleeting “hurrah” inside, that, “boy, did I show them!” glimpse of revenge -but then we spiral right back into the pit of seething resentment (not a fun place to be!).
Forgiveness is not about letting them off the hook – it’s about taking ourselves off the hook!
Forgiveness allows us to give up “judgment duty,” and to let go of our obsession with rehashing in our mind all the ways “they hurt us.” But, who’s hurting us now!? We make ourselves suffer to prove them wrong? Surely this is not right! It might even be a working definition of insanity.
Resentment does not resolve hurt … it does not make them change, or to act better; we cannot not make them regret their mistakes. Quite the opposite, we are more likely to see them so distracted by the need to defend themselves from us that they never have to evaluate their own motives or behavior. … Come to think of it, could it be that we are just as caught up as they are in “nursing” our resentments? Have we recognized our part yet?
No, we do not help ourselves, not anyone else, by housing hatred.
As a matter of fact, by doing so we put ourselves in danger of becoming converts. When we nurse grudges we often become that which we hate in them. We become offenders who sound, look, and even end up acting like the very people we resent!
Forgiveness is not something we do for them – we do it as a kindness to ourselves. To forgive means to let go of the story against them that keeps us in misery. We forgive because we don’t like to punish ourselves for someone else’s confusion.
We forgive because it’s the fastest way to peace. Forgiveness sets us free.