Forgiveness is always difficult to reconcile between our flesh and our spirit. This is because it requires an enormous amount of restraint to not be bitter or strike back. To do what is counterintuitive to our flesh is uncomfortable and unsettling to say the least. “Letting bygones be bygones” is not at all what we would instinctively do. Especially, if we were violated and believe we are justified in feeling the way that we do. Withholding forgiveness not only makes us feel more powerful where we previously had been made to feel powerless; but it gives us a false sense of being in control, though that couldn’t be furthest from the truth.
It’s All About Control
Un-forgiveness is a powerful emotion which can consume us right down to our very core. This is because it doesn’t stop there. Anger, resentment, bitterness, rage, hatred, guilt, self-doubt, malice and a vengeful attitude often accompanies a hardened heart. Holding a grudge then becomes a defense or coping mechanism to protect ourselves from being hurt again. Only, this protective covering doesn’t just hold the negative emotions in; it keeps love and peace out thus effectively blocking or delaying our blessings.
We believe whole-heartedly that we retain the upper hand and can somehow inflict the same kind of heartache inflicted on us. We eventually come to realize that that is not the case, as the object of our pain has moved on and in many instances does not even realize the magnitude of our distress; which only frustrates us more. Rather than us controlling our emotions, we allow our emotions to control us. To let go of something so powerful makes us feel vulnerable, like we are giving up our sense of control and power yet again although in reality, we would not be relinquishing our power, but in fact reclaiming it.
Because God Says So
God’s Word has a lot to say about forgiveness which leaves no confusion or doubt as to what we should do and the consequences or penalties of an unforgiving heart. He sets forth instructions which cannot be misinterpreted or misconstrued. The Heavenly Father states explicitly in Ephesians 4:31-32 that we must,
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.”
God reiterates this in Matthew 6:14-15,
“If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Furthermore, we are told in Colossians 3:13 to,
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you”.
Here we are told that if we can’t muster up the nerve to forgive those that hurt us, then we should not believe that God will forgive us our misdeeds and offenses against Him. It is hypocritical to hold others to a higher standard than we do ourselves.
What’s in it for You?
Forgiving the object of your heartache is a very personal choice. However, in so doing, you release yourself from that which has turned your world upside down. It can mean the difference between a life of spiritual, emotional, and physical anguish or peace. Their hold over you will no longer exist, and you will be free of the emotional turmoil raging within. When you surrender the right to be the victim, you stake your claim on complete healing from the inside, out. I believe if we viewed forgiveness as nourishment to our body and peace to our mind and spirit, we wouldn’t allow anger to eat away at us or anyone to steal our joy. If we personalized forgiveness and made it all about us and our relationship with God, we would be able to let go and let God heal us from within as only He can.