A recent facebook post, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes, received some of the highest response we’ve seen to date. It is obvious this speaks to a lot of people.
So, why is forgiveness for us? Why are we the prisoners that need to be set free when we are the ones that have been wronged?
So often we harbor anger, resentment and pain towards another because of something they have done to us. Often this person may not be aware of our feelings or may not care about how we feel. In other instances they may know how we have been hurt and they want our forgiveness. No matter what the scenario, forgiving them will set you free from the burden you carry. Don’t fool yourself. Not forgiving creates all kinds of baggage we will have to carry around with us.
The biggest struggle in forgiving someone is that we believe we have a “right” to feel the way we do (and most times we probably do) and they don’t deserve to be forgiven. If we forgive them that means we’re saying what they did was okay. We’ll be letting them get away with it! That isn’t right!
This is the biggest obstacle for us when it comes to forgiving someone. “I’ll be darned if I’m going to let them get away with this. I’ll show them. I’ll be angry and miserable forever and it will be their fault!” Now wait a minute, who does that really hurt?
Forgiving someone is a personal decision. We don’t even have to tell them we did it, but in the cases where the person wants our forgiveness and seeks it, we shouldn’t withhold it. It will be a great source of healing for both of us.
However, many times we need to forgive someone that has hurt us and we are the only ones that need to know. The important thing we need to get past is that no matter what the person did, forgiving them isn’t condoning it or saying it was right.
“I forgive you” means: I’m no longer going to be angry with you. I’m no longer going to carry around the pain you caused me. I’m not going to give you power over my happiness. I forgive you because my happiness is more important than what you did to me. This isn’t to sound self centered or arrogant. It means you are moving on, forgiving them, letting go of the past and living for today. What they did very well may have been wrong and horrible, but forgive them for you! Don’t let any one steal your joy. Don’t give them power over you and your life. Simply forgive them. It is that simple and that hard.
Always remember, You’re Not Alone!