When You Forgive, You Bring Joy Back
Un-forgiveness: the bitter fruit that rots us from the inside-out. It happens when you continue to carry memories from your past into your present moment. When you continuously live in the past, those memories take up a lot of room in your heart. So much so, that one day you have no more room left for joy.
Today, I am going to explore the topic of forgiveness and how important it is to the health of our souls. It frees you from the prison that you put your own self in.
We all mess up and hurt others - whether it be a "real" hurt, imagined (on their part) or by misunderstanding of some sort. ALL of us have been guilty of making someone else feel like there was an injustice or some type of humiliation. Perhaps someone felt like they were taken advantage of, unrecognized, envied or the subject of our jealousy. Whichever way, we have all been guilty of offending someone else or being aggrieved ourselves.
People are going to mess up. It is our human nature. Some foul more than others. It is just the way it is. The question is: how do you go beyond your past mistakes so that you can heal?
All throughout the Bible, the topic of forgiving comes up over and over. How many times should we forgive? Jesus said, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." Matthew 18:22. This statement was mind-blowing back then, but the point now even to this day, is that God wants us to forgive others just as He forgives us. How can we take God's grace if we cannot extend our own?
You have an eternal choice to make when you are hurt by someone - a VERY important choice: How do you want to fill your heart? Do you want to fill it up with things that rot it? Or do you want freedom?
Forgiveness takes courage. It makes your life better and then it continues to get better and better and better! It brings you redemption, peace and joy. The other cool thing - once you get into the practice of it, it gets easier and easier.
Un-forgiveness and resentment is poison to the both of you and those around you. It is a heavy burden to carry and it stops you from living the life that we are meant to live. It is a choice. You can choose to continuously live in the past, but you have to realize that will rob you from living the best version of yourself. I also want you to think about what your own bitterness and resentment does to those around you. If deprives not only you, but others, of happiness and fulfillment in relationships. You affect so many others around you and skew those relationships as well. You deprive others of experiences because of your own selfish feelings. Yes, I said that being un-forgiving is selfish.
You feel personally victimized, so you start to resent. Resentment and un-forgiveness is easier than facing your offender. Not forgiving someone is also bad for your mental health. Like I said, hatred and holding those grudges rot your heart.
So, what do you do if you have found yourself carrying the burden of NOT forgiving someone?
- Pray for them. This opens up your heart. If softens it. Really, really think about how many times God has forgiven you for your offenses. Admit that you need God's help to release the grievance of the person that hurt you.
- Ask yourself, "Is this something that was done on purpose, unintentionally or is it imagined?" Once you have figured it out, you have to talk with that person who hurt you. Let them know how you feel. Be specific with them and let them know that they hurt you and why. Be prepared to listen.
- Whenever your mind wanders to any sort of indignation, you must choose to release it. Resentment becomes soul-destroying if you let it fester.
- What if the offender doesn't apologize once confronted? That might happen. If it does, you still have to forgive. Choose to bring the joy back into your heart. You can spend the rest of your life rotting with bitterness, or you can make room for the stuff that actually enriches your life. In reality, your choices are between you and God, but deep in your heart you know what really should be done. You just gotta do it.
What if you are the one who hurt someone else?
- Apologize quickly as soon as you are aware of the hurt, whether intentional or not. It has to be a real and heartfelt apology. You have to take responsibility for your actions. You cannot bring up, "Oh, but YOU did this to ME!" in your confession. It needs to be relevant to what happened. Say what you did and how it was wrong. Do NOT bring up things that you think they did. That is a separate conversation that they need to have with you. Sincerely ask for forgiveness. You must humble yourself and take your ego out of it. That is what God wants us to do.
Hopefully, the person you hurt will forgive you. There is a possibility that they won't though. That will be on them. You have to let it go. Forgive them for not forgiving you.
I pray that anyone who reads this realizes how important forgiveness is to the overall health of your mind, body and soul. It releases you. It makes life better. It brings happiness and peace. Most of all though, it is what God tells us to do and He knows what He's talkin' about.
Thank you so much for reading today. I hope that I made you smile and think a little bit. To reach me, visit SALending.com