Unforgiveness, The Poison We Drink Hoping Others Will Die.
Who Owe's You?
Forgiveness can be quite costly. When someone wrongs you, they create a debt that you need to pay. Without settling or forgiving that debt the issue can have irreparable emotional damage.
We live in a social and cultural world in which we place a great premium on the elimination of discomfort. Media promotes comfort and convenience in everything. Leather car upholstery, sofa-recliners, 1-minute microwave meals, and online dating. People have an appetite for eliminating stress, pain, and discomfort.
Despite a great appetite for eliminating difficult situations, people still hold on to anger. Refusing to forgive and let go. Clinging onto stress, pain and discomfort.
Forgiveness is, frankly, becoming alien to our culture. The way we move on to the next relationship after fights and arguments is, frankly, concerning. We move from relationship to relationship carrying baggage.
Someone put it this way,
Unforgiveness is the poison we drink hoping others will die
When someone goes through pain and hurt, forgiveness becomes an ointment to soothe the wound. Our path to happy relationships is determined by the forgiveness we give.
Who’s Fault Is It?
It’s easy for someone to feel like it wasn't your fault, and so you don’t need to apologize. True, they do, and so do you. It's never their responsibility to get you to feel like saying, “I’m sorry.”
Conflict is like a coin, it has two sides, and each side represents each person’s contribution.
If your contribution is 12% you need to own up to your 12% a 100%.
You are 100% Responsible for your contribution to the conflict.
Because you are 100% responsible for 12% it also means you are also responsible for saying sorry. You don’t have to wait for the other person to come to you first.
Who’s Going To Forget?
There is a false premise that when you forgive you have to forget. Sometimes the pain can be so bad that you might not forget the incident, and that doesn't mean you didn’t forgive.
On my left arm just below my palm, I have a scar that I got as a little kid. I was sharpening a pencil with a sharp razor blade.
In one of the pull strokes as I removed the shavings of the pencil to expose the chalk, I sunk the blade too deep. I didn’t pull it out fast enough before it reached my skin.
Blood gushed out, it hurt for several days and there was a deep scar. To this day, 30 plus years later, I still remember the incident. The scar is still there. But there is no pain.
Forgiveness is like that. The scars will be there, but they won’t hurt. You will likely remember the incident, but the feelings of anger won’t come up because you have forgiven.
Who Do You Need To Forgive?
Forgiveness is a like a muscle, when you learn to exercise it, it grows. Put it into practice extend the grace that God has extended to you. Forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. Make the decision to forgive and the heart will follow. The forgiveness muscle grows when it’s used, but deteriorates if it’s not used.
This is how you exercise the muscle,
Choose not to dwell on the incident.
If you give the mind enough room it will built you an empire without you even lifting a finger. When you choose to dwell on the incident that caused the pain your mind will take you places that will be difficult to come back from. Don’t let your mind run wild. You might see things that were not even there.
Choose not to bring up the incident again and use it against the person.
You don’t have to always recite the history of how you were wronged, citing dates, places and times. You don’t have to be a historian. Once you decide to forgive, let go of the incident, and don’t bring it up again.
Choose not to talk to other people about the incident.
Ok, here’s where it gets difficult. It’s natural to want to talk to someone about the issue. An unforgiving heart can be passed on like a disease. Be careful with whom you share your hurt and pain. In fact, never share your problem with people that don’t have a godly solution. Don’t just give everyone permission to speak into your life.
Choose not to let the incident hinder a personal relationship.
Healthy relationships are nurtured through forgiveness. Graceful people create a graceful environment. Do everything in your power to reconcile, but also accept that it’s not all up to you. It takes two.
When we forgive, we heed God’s call to,
“be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Forgiveness is never a reaction, but a pro-active initiative to build a better relationship.