Marriage: Forgiveness Part 2—Why Forgiving is a Gift to Yourself
Forgiveness Part 2—Why Forgiving is a Gift to Yourself
Relational wounds come in many shapes and sizes. Why is it, or so it seems, that those who love us the most can hurt us the most? The situations causing the pain are limitless. Some more trivial…some more traumatic. He’s always late. She is spending money we don’t have. He lied to me. She belittles me in front of others. He talks down to me like I’m stupid. She flirts with men. Harsh words, dishonesty, unkind treatment or a sense of betrayal can drive a wedge between you and the one you are supposed to be close to.
All hurts require forgiveness.
Face it; we all need people. So, it is far better to learn how to resolve the issues with people than to avoid any issues by trying to live without people. Forgiveness is as important to healthy relationships as water is to our bodies. You can die of bitterness as easily as from thirst. Everybody has to learn how to forgive at some point in life to survive.
But when someone really hurts you, I mean causes a crater of pain in your heart, do they deserve to be forgiven? She cheated on me. He is into pornography again. Ouch. It feels like they don’t! But do they need to be forgiven? Yes. It’s as much for you as them. Yet, in some difficult cases, trust will need to be rebuilt over time and even requires professional help.
In over 3 decades of helping people with every sort of relational damage, the place of forgiveness is critical in making life work. I’ve seen that forgiving is a gift to yourself. So, here are a few reasons why you need to learn to forgive…frankly, the sooner the better for you.
RESTORES YOUR OWN PEACE OF MIND
You will live with far less anxiety when you decide to forgive. Brooding over your hurt keeps the pain alive longer and sadly not unlike a cancer, the impact of the fixation grows, sending out many damaging tentacles. By addressing the hurt, you choose to forgive thus releasing the offender and the hurt they have caused. In forgiving, you let go of a personal need for justice and getting the wrong righted. In some cases, the injustice carries consequences that are required and valid. But by forgiving, you let go of the need to get even. By doing this, it leads to calm waters inside.
PREVENTS BITTERNESS FROM DESTROYING YOU
Letting your heart stay focused on the hurt of the past keeps you stuck there. To hold on to the resentment doesn’t punish the other person; it devastates you. It’s like drinking poison and somehow thinking the other person will die. Active hostility and private animosity do the same thing. They not only rob you of freedom but the emotional edge they bring affects all your other relationships as well. Don’t go there.
FREES YOU TO MOVE ON
Your life is not on hold. If you wait until they come crawling back to you to ask for forgiveness, you could be waiting a long time. You are on hold until they apologize. If they don’t take responsibility for the pain they caused, you are hinging emotional health on someone outside your control. Not wise. Do you want to wait until they are ready to move on? This leaves you at the mercy of their response. Take charge of your life and step out of the prison of resentment.
HONOURS GOD WHO ASKS US TO FORGIVE
Forgiveness is God’s idea in the first place. He needs to forgive us repeatedly and does it well. He is the God of second chances. He calls us to the higher way. He wrote the manual on how humankind works best and He knows that bitterness only corrodes your soul. You may need to ask God to help you; most of us do. But when you do choose to forgive, you honor God and that in itself brings a sense of satisfaction. You are doing what is right.
When you have been wronged, the choice to harbour your hurt doesn’t lead to a healthier you. Think about it…you have all these great reasons to begin to move on. I challenge you to get started on your freedom now.
Pass this article along to those in your world who need help with forgiveness and come back for more truth that challenges relationships. And remember, you’ll never regret taking the steps to forgive those who have wronged you.
**NOTE: If you or your marriage/family is in crisis, seek creditable support right away. Our Care Centre has a team of counsellors ready to help. We can counsel you in person, if you are in the Fraser Valley, or via phone or Skype if you live farther away.