Have you ever been so angry at someone, you just knew you’d hate that person for the rest of your life? That person did something so mean, unconscionable and unspeakable, that there was just no way you would possibly ever even accept an apology from that person. That person completely betrayed your trust, love and/or friendship. Why on earth would you even consider forgiving that person?
People make mistakes, even you do. Yet, some mistakes seem terribly unforgivable, don’t they? Well, think about the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone; and be honest with yourself. Would you forgive you?
It’s hard to forgive people when we feel hurt, betrayed, angry, etc., but remember, you are in control of your own emotions. Yet, in order to control your emotions, you need to be free of the negative, damaging emotions such as hate and anger. The only way to be free of those destructive emotions is to forgive those who hurt you.
I didn’t say this was an easy feat. In fact, it took me years of asking God every day to help me forgive someone who had hurt me so terribly. Yet, once I was able to forgive, I was able to move on and have a much healthier attitude toward everything and everybody.
In my early teens, I remember being extremely angry with someone. One day, seeing my continued anger, my step-dad asked why I would allow someone else to control my emotions in such a negative manner. I went through all the horrible things that person had done to me (according to my teenage angst), explaining to my step-dad why I had a right to be angry. He simply told me that the only person my anger was hurting was me.
His statements did not make much sense at the time, but just a few short years later struck a chord. I again was extremely angry with someone and allowed my anger to grow. Before I knew it I was getting wrinkles and gray hair, and I was only in my 20’s! My step-dad’s words rang back to me at that point and I realized just how right he was. My anger was affecting my relationships with family and friends, making me old before my time, and I ended up with an ulcer for which I had to take medication. I realized the hate and anger I was holding onto against someone who had hurt me was only hurting me more.
There are many studies, including the oldest one of all, The Bible, which warn against the health hazards of not forgiving. Just reading these studies should help you to make the decision to forgive those who hurt you so you can live a life free of the pain others inflict. If you prefer medical reference, the Mayo Clinic gives a broader explanation of the health benefits of forgiveness.
In short, forgiveness is for your benefit, not for that of the person who caused you pain. Although, you will find that your forgiveness of that person will allow others to forgive you of your mistakes. It may even bring the person who hurt you to understand and reciprocate the love that you showed in your forgiveness of their actions. Just remember, anger begets anger, but love begets love. Even an unruly, out of control child often only needs a hug in order to calm down and become the sweet little angel you know that child really is. So remember, hate and anger tears you up; forgiveness sets you free and you can choose to share the love instead wherein lies your success!