Forgiveness is a catchphrase, motto, and common theme in the Christian faith, but it’s much easier to talk about than actually do.
I did a little research on this subject because I’ve held a grudge or two in my day and not once has it done me a bit of good. The fact is human beings are hard-wired to retaliate. When our pride or self-esteem is injured, our expectations or dreams disappointed, or an external source causes us to lose something valuable, we want compensation for the damages. We easily fall into the, “You owe me” mentality.
Yet, retaliation, grudges, and blame often harm you more than they hurt anyone else. Medical research has shown that being unforgiving causes mental and physical damage to the body, while forgiveness has many beneficial outcomes.
Here are just 4 ways Forgiveness Gives:
#1 Forgiveness gives you a path from victim to victor. When someone hurts you, you are a victim. Forgiving the hurt instills a sense of power and control back into the situation. You’re no longer allowing the hurt to affect your life and decisions. Instead you are directing your life by forgiving.
#2 Forgiveness gives you freedom. Grudges are the pallbearers to an early grave—whether truly or figuratively. Forgiveness breaks the bonds of the past and allows you to progress into the future. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Whoever opts for revenge should dig two graves.”
If you’re holding onto a painful circumstance and feeding the embers of blame, you’ll never be able to grow and elevate beyond it. You’ll always be a slave to the incident. Live by forgiveness and you’ll be free from your past.
#3 Forgiveness is a powerful gift that keeps on giving. I read a story in a magazine once about a woman that forgave the boy that killed her son in a drug dispute. While the boy had to serve a sentence in prison for the murder, the mother wrote and visited him often. In effect, she became his mother. This act of ultimate forgiveness allowed him to leave prison a far better man than he was when he went in, and it gave her peace and the ability to move on from her loss.
#4 Jesus commands that we forgive. Have you ever noticed that Jesus’ suggestions (commandments) are meant for your good and health? Nothing Jesus ever said we should do resulted in our failure or unhappiness. When we forgive, we honor God. We say, “I forgive others because you have forgiven me.” To be a true servant of Christ we must forgive and forget. God’s grace is without strings. He never brings up our past wrongs and always hopes for our future goods. This is how we should also approach one another.
Forgiveness gives. Remember this.