[Read Matthew 18v21-35]
Not forgiving someone is like playing Pong.
The conflict goes back and forth, back and forth, even if only in your own mind. Someone hurt you, perhaps horrendously, and you feel like you can’t leave it in the past. You still feel sick when you hear the person’s name. You still feel ill will toward the person even if you don’t want to.
Now that we’ve entered the holiday season, maybe it’s hard for you to be thankful because someone has hurt you badly. Maybe that person is in your family, and having to spend time with family during the holidays is very difficult.
You may think that you could never forgive. Maybe you’ve tried. Perhaps it will help to know what forgiveness really is and what it is not…
What Forgiveness is NOT:
- Forgiveness is not forgetting. In fact, your brain automatically remembers things that cause you pain. You may not be able to forget. You may not be able to spend time around the person any longer, especially if the person’s behavior does not change.
- Forgiveness is not condoning what the person did. What he or she did may be very wrong.
- Forgiveness is not trust. Forgiveness is instant; trust is rebuilt over time, if ever.
What Forgiveness IS:
- Forgiveness is ending the back and forth.
- Forgiveness is releasing the person from your judgment and leaving her or him in God’s hands- “God is willing to forgive me, so I will forgive others”.
- Forgiveness is freeing yourself as much as it is freeing the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is being free to move on.
- Forgiveness is being able to pray for the person’s healing and wellbeing.
(If you think this might be helpful to others, please tell them about it or email them a link.)