It’s time for a virtual heart-to-heart! Are you ready? It’s time we talk about….forgiveness. It’s something that is rarely talked about and when it is, we automatically associate the word “forgiveness” with minor offenses, you know an argument over who sits in front or what TV show to watch. But what about the hard stuff? What about the major offensives? The ones that are so big that they cut deep down and are seemingly unforgivable.
You probably are reading this and thinking “this girl is crazy, why would I EVER forgive someone for something that they did to me. They don’t deserve my forgiveness” and you’re right they might not and you don’t ever have to forgive them, that’s your choice. Forgiveness will forever and always be a choice.
When we think about forgiveness we tend to think of a simple “I’m sorry, do you forgive me?” “Yes, I forgive you.” type of situation and move on, but if you think of a scenario and it still makes you angry, I would be so bold as to say that you might not have actually fully forgiven someone. When we harbor unforgiveness, we are allowing bitterness and anger to consume us and grudges to form, which begins to leak into other facets of our lives without even realizing it. So how do we avoid having bitterness and anger consume us? Here is the answer: forgiveness! It truly is the most effective way to get to that deep healing that we might not even know needed to happen.
So what is forgiveness? Forgiveness, by definition is the act or process of forgiving or being forgiven, but is it so much deeper than that. It is not about finding excuses for the offending person’s behavior or pretending it didn’t happen. It’s about extending mercy to those who’ve harmed us, even if they don’t “deserve” it.
Forgiveness is a process with many steps that will always look different for each and every person! It’s not always going to be cookie cutter! Some situations will be easy to forgive and others might take a little longer and guess what that is totally fine! Remember, that forgiveness is most important for you!
In November of 2020, The Mayo Clinic wrote an article about the effects of what holding onto grudges, bitterness, and harboring unforgiveness can look like in our lives. Some are obvious ways that we are affected, but others are not. So here they are: you might bring anger and bitterness into other relationships and new experiences. You could become so wrapped up in the wrong (aka dwelling on the past) that you can’t enjoy the present. You might notice that you have become depressed or anxious. You may even start to feel like your life lacks purpose or meaning. All, in my opinion, are reasons to let go of the past and choose to forgive! I would never want what someone did to me in my past to affect my everyday life, especially when the chances are that that person has had a second thought of what they may have done to you.
You don’t have to call up that person or even see them face to face to forgive them. Heck, they might not ever know that you have forgiven them and that is totally okay! Remember, forgiveness if for YOU. Forgiveness heals us and allows us to move on in life with meaning and purpose. Forgiveness matters, and we will be its primary beneficiary.
Here are some great articles written about forgiveness if you would like to read more!!