I will never forgive them!
It's one of the many things we find ourselves saying when we have been hurt. But can we truly forgive someone no matter what they have done?
The answer is yes! We can forgive, but it doesn't happen overnight. We live in such a fast-paced world that we want everything right this second and expect everything to happen overnight. The reality is forgiveness, like many other things, takes healing, time and patience.
One of the many things I hear is "well I grew up in a bad neighborhood" or "my parents left me" or "you don't know what I went through and what they did to me." And guess what? You're right: I have no idea what you went through and who hurt you. And I won't pretend to, either. You can't keep drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. YOU ARE ONLY HURTING YOURSELF.
Forgiveness, personally, has been very challenging. Growing up, it wasn't picture perfect. I was subjected to things no child should have to see or experience. I grew faster than I should have not because I wanted to, but because I had to. It was a means of survival. Getting older the anger and the hate grew strong, and I despised those who had hurt me, those who should have protected me.
Someone once told me I needed to forgive and forget. Truth be told, that only added salt to my wounds. My hatred and anger flared that much more. My mind went wild with thoughts of: Why should I forgive them? They aren't sorry for what they did; they don't care that they hurt me or that their actions not only affected them but me as well, They don't understand the damage they have caused.
To carry unforgiveness, anger, and hatred in our hearts is baggage that only gets more oppressive as the days, months and years pass. It took me a long time to realize that carrying all that weight wasn't going to hurt those who had wronged me. I was beating myself up. I was depriving myself of letting go and moving on to be happy.
It wasn't until a friend of mine invited me to a bible study that changed my life. It was about the third week in that I read this passage that changed my view on everything.
"If I forgive, that will make it all right, and it's not alright." But God whispered into my ear. "No my child; forgiving will make you alright."
Its OK to not be OK. You can scream at the top of your lungs, write in a journal until your hand goes numb, cry until you no longer can, but don't live there. Showing your emotions and crying when you have been hurt does not make you weak. It just means you have been strong for too long. Your past does not have to control what your future looks like. Your history and the experiences you have gone through do not define who you are as a person. Don't let the demons from your past keep dragging you back to relive painful memories. There is always hope amidst the pain.
Please remember when people are cruel, that is a reflection of who they are as a person, not you. Don't let your shine diminish because of someone else. Choose to forgive. That doesn't mean you have to be friends or talk to the people who hurt you. But you can forgive in your heart. You deserve to be happy and at peace. Don't let anyone take that away from you.
You only get one life. Why would you want to be anything but happy?