“Let all bitterness, indignation, wrath, resentment, quarreling and slander be banished from you. Esphesians 4:31
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do when someone has hurt or mistreated you. Many people spend years being angry, resentful or even revengeful. Depending on how deep the pain or experience, it may take years to recover and release emotional, mental or psychological abuse.
Just because you forgive someone, does not mean you have to keep them close to you. I remember watching the Oprah Winfrey show years ago and she stated, “Once someone shows you their true colors the first time, believe them.” I thought that was a very powerful statement which I carry with me through life.
True character will eventually be exposed. People may try to mask their negative behaviors or attitudes, but it will eventually be revealed. If you don’t like the way someone treats you, you have a choice to remove yourself. You should also be cautious about who you choose to be in your circle. Negative attitudes and behaviors are contagious. Just like the saying goes, “Birds of a feather, flock together.” However, sometimes it is unavoidable to escape a negative person or environment. But, just because someone has done you wrong, does not justify treating them or others the same way. You are bigger than that situation or person.
Forgiveness is a process of letting go. It is by no means easy. It may even take years to overcome. Forgiveness may start in the mind, but it has to end in the heart. You can tell yourself that you forgive someone, but when you see them again or have to deal with them, negative emotions flair up. You truly know you have forgiven them when you can have peace in your heart, spirit and mind even if you never see them again.
When you live with unforgiveness, you are bound like a prisoner. Your emotions are locked up which can eventually lead to health problems and even terminal illnesses. Conditions of the heart is a real and serious thing. It can eventually destroy an individual, a marriage, family, a friendship, a work relationship or a community.
Jesus was the ultimate example of forgiveness. After being mocked and beaten, He hung on the cross and he said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Jesus’s whole ministry is about love and forgiveness. Most people in the world feels that forgiveness is a sign of weakness. However, it is a true sign of strength. It takes more maturity, courage, wisdom, strength and power to forgive.
If Jesus can forgive us for all the things we continue to do on a continuous basis and we “as His children” are heirs to the kingdom, we have the ability and the power to forgive others. “He (Jesus) who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4
When you forgive, you are set free. And, “Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.” John 8:36
“Judge not and you shall not be judged, condemn not and you shall not be condemned, forgive and you shall be forgiven” Luke 6:37