Have you ever disliked something so strongly that the mere mention of it made you cringe? I have. Only it wasn’t something, it was someone. Truthfully, I hated this person. For years, she had been blatantly disrespectful and condescending towards me. Instead of nipping things in the bud in the beginning stages, I harbored feelings of hurt and allowed them to turn to bitterness; my bitterness led to unforgiveness; unforgiveness formed hatred.
My hatred towards her had gotten so bad that I sometimes found myself having evil thoughts about her. I felt that she had insulted and infuriated me far too many times without showing a fraction of remorse; therefore, she did not deserve my forgiveness. As a Christian I knew this was wrong, (I studied all of the scriptures concerning unforgiveness.) but I couldn’t seem to get over my feelings. I could not open my heart and forgive her.
I’ll spare you all the details, but I will share this – She had no clue about my feelings towards her, so at the end of the day, I was the one who suffered. She didn’t feel the pain of my hatred towards her, I did. I suffered spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I was the one losing sleep, stressing, going to the altar every Sunday, and feeling disconnected from God because of my inability to forgive. At this point, it was no longer about her; I had to look inward.
I had to decide whether I was going to continue to allow my flesh to rule my heart, or tap into the God within me and love her with the love of Christ. Needless to say, I chose the latter; however, it wasn’t easy. My heart was willing, but my mind put up a fight. It took A LOT of touching and agreeing to break that unforgiving spirit that had festered in my heart. I didn’t forgive her for her sake, but for my own. I needed to be free. And trust me, there is such freedom in forgiveness.
Perhaps you’ve been deeply hurt by someone, and you’re finding it quite challenging to offer forgiveness. If you think about, it’s pointless to hold a grudge, because the only person it really affects is you. There’s a quote I like: Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting on the other person to die. Think about that for a minute.
Unforgiveness makes you bitter and angry, and prohibits you from sharing the genuine love of Christ. There are three things you can do for someone who wrongs you, that will free your heart and mind: forgive them; pray for them; love them. Besides, how can we expect God to forgive us, if we can't forgive others? No, it’s not always easy to do, but it’s definitely the righteous thing to do.
Unforgiveness holds you hostage, and keeps you from moving forward. Forgiveness breaks those chains and sets you free. Choose today to no longer allow unforgiveness to rest in your heart. Let’s pray:
Lord, forgive me for not operating in the spirit of forgiveness as your word commands. I ask that you would help me release the offender, and the offense, that caused me pain, and cleanse my heart and mind so that I may show the same love and forgiveness towards them that you have shown towards me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
*RECOMMENDED SCRIPTURE READINGS: Matthew 5:44; Matthew 6:14-15, Matthew 18:21-22, Mark 11:25-26