A necessary struggle.
We struggle to forgive because it’s difficult to accept events that have taken place. We struggle to accept because we don’t understand. How could they? We need a reason for why someone did something we never thought they’d do. We want an explanation for them hurting us. Though even if obliged, no reason is ever good enough.
Mostly, we struggle to forgive because we associate doing so with saying, “it’s OK.”
We often feel as though forgiving someone is letting them off of the hook. We’re confused, angry and wounded. We want the offender to feel bad for making us feel worse. If we forgive them, they may feel better. So, we don’t.
How long will you punish yourself for what they did to you?
When we think of it this way it sounds silly — that we’d punish ourselves for the sins committed against us by another. But that’s exactly what we’re doing when we struggle to forgive. We’re not only holding on to pain, but adding to it.
Every time we refuse to let someone into our hearts because space is being occupied by this unresolved issue, we’re punishing ourselves. Every wall we build, every pleasure we deny ourselves, every crippling thought we think and any influence we allow past wrongs to have over our lives is self-inflicted punishment.
Unforgiveness is a heavy burden to bear. It makes us spiteful and cold. Letting others live with what they’ve done has to be enough. Because our efforts to chastise them, or our inability to move forward only brings us additional, unnecessary suffering.
We have to learn to forgive, even when the person doesn’t deserve it — because we deserve it. We deserve to be free. Maybe they don’t feel bad about what they’ve done. Perhaps they don’t even believe they did anything wrong. Forgive them anyway. It doesn’t mean the person has to remain in your life. In fact, if they don’t feel bad about hurting you they probably shouldn’t. But don’t do them the favor of causing yourself more agony.
Forgiveness is always more for us than them. ALWAYS. It doesn’t say, “what you did was ok.” It says:
I’m releasing myself from the harmful effects of holding on to what you have done.
So, how long will you punish yourself for what they did to you?