Life is full of pain. None of us is immune to it. As we share the earth with others, we occasionally end up in situations where someone has "done us wrong".
When this happens, our hearts fill with rage and we want to get even. Sometimes we sit in shock and stare straight ahead, yet at other times we cry, releasing a small portion of the pain.
But what do we do with the feelings for the party that has "ruined our lives"?
I'll tell you what the worst thing is that we can do - hate! Hate shackles our hearts to them for all eternity. Hate opens up a well of bitterness in us so deep that it will not be released. Hate adds pain to the injury.
We all have the stories.... sad, sad stories of betrayal and heartache. It seems that in life we cannot sidestep those growth opportunities for they sometimes hit us out of left field from those that are closest to us.
Forgiveness is the answer. Do they deserve forgiveness? Maybe not but we will someday hurt someone else unintentionally and will really want to experience their forgiveness of us. It's all about passing the grace to one another and in doing so you release yourself from your debt to them. We will be forgiven with the very nature that we forgive others.
There are many books written on forgiveness - it's a complex process. Basically forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. It is an act of obedience. Sometimes it has to be applied to a situation moment by moment. For this moment, I choose to forgive. I do not feel it - I feel ripped off, hurt, slighted, angry. I want a big asteroid to fall from the sky and take them out. I want every bad thing conceivable to happen to them. I wish them the worst kind of harm. I hope they shrivel up and die in the pain that they have inflicted on me. (A little insight into how utterly human I am). But instead, I'm releasing this right now and choosing to forgive. I'm doing it because it's what I'm supposed to do and I'm doing it because I can't live with the consequences for me if I don't do it. I feel badly that I've been put in this position that I have to choose to forgive, but to forgive is the higher road and I'm going to take it.
The next step of course is BLESSING those who have hurt you! Sometimes that step takes a little time. The pathway through your emotions cannot be rushed. If you can get to this stage, a greater blessing and peace will come to you, but again, it's done as an act of the will, not by feelings.
I've lived many years now with multiple opportunities to forgive and it still doesn't come easily. I will say that through the years I have decided to overlook things that earlier in my life would have offended me. I just don't want to look for trouble anymore. Sometimes I miss warning signs telling me to proceed with caution because I've chosen to close my eyes to the harm that the person in front of me is inflicting on my spirit. Because of this, I've had some really unfortunate awakenings.
I've chosen to take this pain and turn it into wisdom and insight. This wisdom that has come with a price, is now something I want to put out there for others. It's my own little way of kicking back at that evil that wants to keep taking us all down. We just can't let it have the best of us! We can't let it take us down to the grave!
Ok, it's your turn. It's time to examine your hearts and see if you may be holding hatred or resentment today. If you are... start the process of releasing it.... it's good for the soul!