The longer you allow a wound to fester, the more bitterness and anger eats at your heart. I’ll be the first to admit that forgiveness is not an easy thing to do.
Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 I forgive you – Say it slowly. I f o r g i v e y o u . It is our intention by the end of this article you will be motivated to seek those whom you have not forgiven and ask for forgiveness. Why is it so hard to forgive? Why do we hold on to grudges rather than free ourselves from the gut wrenching, resentful act of withholding forgiveness? It takes a lot of emotional and psychological energy to keep a grudge alive. It’s like an unyielding open wound. The longer you allow a wound to fester, the more bitterness and anger eats at your heart. I’ll be the first to admit that forgiveness is not an easy thing to do.
It is very difficult to confront someone else you feel has wronged you. It may
seem easy but most of the time that is not the case. There are many people on this planet who lived their entire lives withholding forgiveness; unwilling and unable to relinquish the stronghold.
If knowing the benefits surrounding forgiveness, one
would be quick to cast it off their shoulders.
Just a little over a year ago, Clarence and I learned the benefits of saying ‘I Forgive You”. It was 1971 when Clarence and I met and started dating. For seven long years I waited for Clarence to say those loving words, “will you marry me?” We came close but it didn’t happen. I grew up knowing if a man didn’t ask you to marry him; he certainly wasn’t planning on spending the rest of his life with you. Clarence grew up knowing, you can’t ask a girl’s hand in marriage if you are unable to provide for her. Offer her the simple things in life, like a home and food on the table.
Unfortunately we never shared our inner thoughts and feelings about the matter. We never shared our fears about marriage or the lack of
doing so, so we parted. I moved to the west coast and Clarence stayed on the east coast. On the outside we looked like things were just fine. I told my friends we were free, single and disengaged, but on the inside there was
pain, a festering wound. It was difficult to talk about the situation without getting a lump in my throat. Seven long years of being together now
shattered and lost. Despair had taken a seat at the doorstep and made a home. Another seven years had passed and the hurt lingered, burying deeper and deeper the passionate love we had for each other. Growing in its place was this festering wound making our lives lonely and miserable. However, God’s grace and mercy saw fit to do a miraculous thing in our lives. He planted a seed to have us set aside our hopelessness and pain and show us His unconditional love.
After fourteen years, Clarence and I finally married on November 2, 1984. We had a good marriage. Still, we never spoke about the pain, we covered it up, we buried it, but it sprung up in different areas of our marriage. It kept us from taking our marriage to the next level. In order for us to grow and improve our marriage we had to forgive
It wasn’t until November 20, 2009 while on our 25th wedding anniversary honeymoon we uttered the words “I forgive you” and shared our
fears that we should have shared so long ago. On that day we learned that one of the most beautiful expressions of love is forgiving. We were finally able to release what happened in the past and move forward in our marriage. Someone once said, forgiveness is a door to peace and happiness, it is a small narrow door, and cannot be entered without stooping. We were on the right track when we married – it was an expression of our unconditional love. But we really began to heal when we said “I Forgive You”. No two marriages are exactly alike, but know that God's call to forgiveness can free you and your spouse to take the next step towards a fulfilling and God-honoring marriage. Some of you may have had traumatic situations occur that cause you not to forgive. You may say you were wronged in the worst way. You may feel the crime committed against you is beyond forgiveness. The cheating and the lies have brought you to a point of no return. But know this, withholding forgiveness builds resentment. Nelson Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”. In Luke 6:27-37 Jesus tells us to love our enemies. To do good to those who hate us, to bless those who curse us and to pray for those who ill-treat us. It’s a reminder to be loving and kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Forgive and you will be forgiven. We should forgive for we ourselves have been forgiven. Since we have been forgiven, we have been restored and are able to have an intimate relationship with God the Father. When we forgive those who have sinned against us, we are blessed. We encourage you today to extend forgiveness, withhold it no longer. A wise person once said “ when you forgive it is like releasing a prisoner from jail and realizing the prisoner is yourself”. Be a blessing to the person who needs forgiveness and you will be blessed in return.