Are you angry about something in your life?
Has someone hurt you, and you feel you have every right to remain angry and bitter?
Have you done something so awful you cannot forgive yourself?
What I’m addressing here are not the petty little resentments that momentarily upset us from day to day but instead betrayals and deep hurts. The kind that has you believing that anyone who went through such an experience would feel the same way.
If you’re carrying around anything like this, it’s as dangerous as radioactive material. And it can eat away at who you are at the deepest levels of your being.
Without exception we are to forgive, no matter how strongly we feel that the severity of the offense justifies our continued resentment. Often we look for any possible loophole to withhold forgiveness, but there is none.
We must forgive.
When the hurt is deep, forgiveness can seem too much to ask. Some are unwilling to forgive because they believe the abusers deserve the worst.
Or they think forgiving lets the perpetrators off scot-free and seems to allow them to think that their despicable act was justifiable.
I’ve been the victim of offenses I thought were so great, no one could ask me to forgive them. I was astounded at the depth of pain, and could not believe I had to forgive these people. I felt like anyone could see I was entitled to any amount of anger, rage, resentment, or bitterness.
But I knew in my heart the longer I held onto the resentment, the more it would hurt me. The forgiveness was not instantaneous; it took time.
Forgiveness is a process rather than an event. One of the most beautiful promises in Scripture is found in these words of Jesus, inviting us to a higher way of living than the world offers:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29) Jesus desires peace for our souls.
So at some point, we must courageously move toward giving up our resentment and begin replacing it with forgiveness.