Why Forgive?

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Just like all of us, I have faced many situations in my life where the opportunity to forgive someone or to hold a grudge against them presented itself.  I was told by others, you have every right to be upset! I would never forgive them for that!  The list could go on and on.  Everyone always seems to have an opinion on how I should handle things.

Many years ago after my ex wife’s 5th marital affair, the breakup of my family and the continual lawsuits at her hands in demanding more and more and more money, I was angry, fed up and tired of the burdensome weight I was feeling in my life.   I hadn’t broken our family up, yet I was the one trying to keep sanity in not only my life, but the lives of our children as she raced from one relationship to the other while making me finance her escapades.  I was tired of the judicial system and others supporting her in destroying others around her.   I had vowed I would never forgive her for what she had done to our family.

As the first several years went by, I was full of anger and hatred towards her.  I blamed her for putting our family through what she had put us through.  I stopped attending church, stopped exercising, stopped living, as I was consumed by the hate.  It seemed to grow within me, the dark feelings as I would not forgive her, nor was I willing to let go.  I felt, just as others around me that I had every right to be upset with her for destroying our family.  Why should I forgive her?  I wasn’t the one who left the marriage I had a right to be angry.

As time continued on, my refusal to forgive her was destroying me.   It was like a cancer inside of me that was eating away at my soul.  My blood pressure was high, my cholesterol was high, I wasn’t sleeping, I didn’t eat well.  Through all this, I held on to my belief that I didn’t need to forgive her.

 I knew better.  I knew what the scriptures said about forgiving others.  I Knew that was what God  would have us do.  I always believed forgiveness was for others that had wronged us, for them to heal.  It took me a very long and painful journey to understand that the true nature of forgiveness is to allow us to heal, to remove the poison that comes from holding onto grudges from within us.

It took me years to learn that while I was busy holding onto this grudge, this anger, that it was not hurting her.  It was destroying me.  I was not happy.  Then one night as I knelt in prayer, I prayed for the strength to forgive.  It wasn’t easy!  It was painful.   It brought back all the heartache and betrayal that I had felt.  I struggled within as I searched for the way to truly forgive her for her actions against me and our family.  Then I let go of the hate and allowed the forgiveness to happen.  When I told her I forgave her, she mocked me.  It didn’t matter, I let go anyway.

It wasn’t long before I discovered the direct benefits I was receiving as a result of my true forgiveness.  I was sleeping through the night for the first time in nearly 6 years.  My blood pressure and cholesterol were normal again.   I felt the energy to exercise.  I went back to church. I was invigorated with life.  I loved life!   Letting go had made my life improve.  I found the love of my life after I went through this process for which I am eternally grateful for.  She is my soul mate and I would never have found her had I held onto the grudges and not learned to forgive.

Forgiveness allows us to heal.  It is a way for us to put the hurt in a place that cannot destroy us.  When we hold onto those grudges in life it is a poison that impacts not only us but those we love most.    I have seen families and friendships torn apart from grudges and refusal to forgive.  I have seen people stop going to church, to family events, and end friendships all over a grudge and failure to forgive.  The person we hold that grudge against does not always even notice, we let them control our lives for the sake of our pride. 

Many times forgiving ourselves is the most difficult one to forgive.  Our failure to forgive ourselves creates a path of destruction in our own life.  Many of the poor choices we continue to make stem from our failure to forgive ourselves for our mistakes.  By forgiving ourselves we can create a brighter future for ourselves and those we love.  It allows us to finally move forward and be free of the internal chains that hold us bound, we will have better self esteem and greater love and compassion for others.

Forgiveness allows us to move forward and to heal.  Let go of the grudge you hold, forgive yourself, forgive those who have wronged you and reclaim control over your life.

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22 thoughts on “Why Forgive?

  1. Pingback: Why Forgiveness is necessary for our own happiness and peace | jisbell22

    • It was a difficult journey to find forgiveness. One that I am deeply grateful for and I believe a better person from the experience. Thank you for taking a moment to read and share your thoughts

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  2. I know you read my “Diary of a formerly mad wife” post already. It’s so interesting to me that a refusal/ rebellion against forgiveness only hurts US. I loved this post. Divorce sure does give a LOT of opportunities to learn how to forgive like Jesus does. I’m still really bad at it.

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    • I loved that post and agree that it does provide continual opportunities to forgive. It also allows us to teach our children forgiveness through our example. It took me a very long time to be able to reach that point. I only wish that I could have done it sooner, I would have been much happier along the way! Thank you for your comments and I look forward to more amazing posts from you.

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  3. What a powerful, inspiring post. You’ve been on such a long journey. So many of us can learn from this. Do you have any thoughts about how that moment of letting go and forgiving happen, especially towards oneself? Sometimes I struggle with knowing that I should do that (forgive myself) but I don’t know how.

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  4. Pingback: Why Forgive? | jisbell22

  5. All too often people mistakenly assume that because you forgive someone, you also by proxy must be saying that you are validating and excusing their behavior. However, when you hold on to the negative emotion associated with what the person did to you and put you through, just as you said, it becomes like cancer. Not only does it eat away the goodness from your life (blinds you to it), it spreads and taints everything ultimately affecting your health and your personality. It keeps you stuck in the frame of mind and makes it impossible for you to make progress or enjoy your life — not just the things you do but also the people in your life.

    Forgiveness, is a gift from God. For it does NOT excuse the person and their behavior. It merely allows you to move on and be free to enjoy your life and heal. If you hold on to the anger and hurt and fear and doubt, it is impossible for you to ever heal, because your energy is sunken into perpetuating suffering instead of on taking care of yourself and repairing and overwriting the damage. Forgiveness is not truly for the perpetrator. It is for us.

    Just like how you mentioned your ex wife mocked you when you told her, in general most abusers would. They don’t care how you feel or what you do, and they certainly don’t feel that anything they did was wrong. Abusers do what they are. Her mocking you is demonstrative of that.

    The wonderful thing about the forgiveness is that regardless of her reaction, you were able to move forward anyway to the life you have now, and there is a gift in that. I have not spoken to the man who abused me in fourteen months and one day. I hope that I am not ever in a situation that requires me speaking to him, because the thought of him being near me is terrifying. But I did post my letter of forgiveness to him on my blog and let it go the second I hit publish.

    Forgiveness itself is a long process to come to. And everyone is ready for it at a different time. Once you do forgive someone, it doesn’t mean that everything falls away form and vanishes into the ether like it never happened. You are still left with the hurt, fear, doubt, and insecurity. The triggers and PTSD symptoms still remain. However, you aren’t focusing on that anymore. You are focusing on healing and finding joy, and that change of focus makes all the difference.

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  6. Wow man. You clearly understand the meaning of forgiveness and it’s purpose. I had to reblog this on my own site. You’ve truly learned the point that forgiveness is primarily for the one extending it. Whether the one receiving it accepts or rejects it has very little to do with it.

    If I may, I’d like to suggest you read my post about the night I met and forgave the man who was having an affair with my wife. It was not what either of us expected but it was an amazing experience.

    http://onewaywardson.com/2014/03/20/my-enemy-or-my-brother/

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  7. I have experienced this as well in my own life. I wish that others would understand and let go of their anger and the grudges that they hold against others, so that they can receive the blessing that is on the other side of forgiving.

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