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.