Forgiveness is defined as “the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.” This is a pretty good definition, but seems it portray forgiveness as an easy act to accomplish. Most of us know that it’s anything but easy to forgive someone that has hurt us. If the act of forgiving was as easy as counting to 10, then the world would be a much better place. We tend to cling to the hurt, rage, resentment etc. and let it fester because it is tends to be the natural response to those situations. There are some who relish in the bitterness of their situation; wanting to continuously punish those who have done wrong. Not letting go of a hurt or wrong doesn’t punish the transgressor, it punishes the “victim.” Our souls become tarnished with the lack of grace we refuse to extend to others. It builds up in our hearts and replaces love. That is the worst side effect of being unforgiving. Replacing love means to replace God, for God is Love. By intending to hurt another, we in turn hurt God. It becomes a vicious and never ending cycle of pain.
So many of us would rather focus on the sins and faults of others focusing on our own. Trying to escape our sins on our own is like trying to free ourselves from our bodies; it’s impossible. To forgive someone else allows God to see your repentance for your sins. “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13.” Look to Jesus for guidance and assistance. Pray for the strength to forgiv. I recently read a story about a mother who exemplified this forgiveness. A 14 year old boy took a gun to school to show his friends and accidentally shot a 13 year old girl on the school bus. Two years later in court, the mother of that girl approached him in court and gave him a hug. She also asked the judge to give him a lighter sentence. This young man is out of jail and at Avon Park Youth Academy where he will complete vocational training. He will also travel with this mother at least 12 times a year to speak about gun violence. She is free from prison of resentment and anger that might have caged her and was able to give a young man a second chance. We all need to break free and realize that to forgive someone is to love as Jesus loves. Look within, honestly consider whether there is someone you need to forgive and work on letting go. God will help, as He always does. Don’t replace Him with feelings of ill will. Go out and love, and the world will become a better place.