Many times we think that forgiveness means we have released the offender from responsibility or consequences for their actions. It does not. Forgiveness is not something which releasing them, but frees us from the bondage associated with the pain and anger that we have to nurture to keep unforgiveness thriving.
There is nothing more damaging than the effects of unforgiveness in our lives. When we embrace unforgiveness it requires that we replay the offense over and over again in our mind in order to feed the negative emotions and keep the anger alive. We have to nourish the pain, embrace the anger, replay the event, and feed that negative energy. After the mere seed of unforgiveness is planted and nurtured long enough, it produces the root of bitterness, which spreads like cancer, choking out love, corrupting our spirit, hardening our heart, and threatening to overpower our soul.
There is nothing more pitiful then finding yourself in the company of a bitter person [man/woman]. It’s not unheard of to hear them rehash stories of the pain caused to them by lovers, friends, and family long dead and gone. Tales decades old fall from their lips like it happened yesterday. Because they spent years nursing that pain, fueling that anger, reliving that event, trying to ensure that the offender would never be released by their forgiveness. In most instances, their refusal to forgive didn’t impact the abuser, the offender, the lover, or the friend not one bit. Their bitterness only taught their children how to be bitter and unforgiving as well. It alienated family and close friends.
They didn’t understand that their refusal to forgive, their inability to forgive only hurt them. So, they embraced the pain which fueled the anger and increased the hatred which festered and sprouted its roots of bitterness. Once the root of bitterness begins to grows, it expands its grasp and soon all offenses become unforgiveable and all offenders are banished from their lives.
The bitter ones tales of abuse [real and imagined] often over the years become embellished due to the replaying and rehashing of events in their mind. The offense grows larger and ultimately becomes the unpardonable sin. I never knew there were so many unpardonable sins, but the bitter one can tell you each and every one of them. They’ve forgotten what the Bible says, but they claim to read it often, have one in the trunk of their car, carry it into the workplace and read it during lunch, but they can’t forgive. Jesus forgave his murderers and they claim to follow him and often ask what he would do? But they refuse to forgive the man who left them.
My mother left me at birth [gave me away] and I never knew my real father. But I forgave her and I’m grateful to her because now I realize that leaving me with someone else was the ultimate act of love on her part. She loved me enough to give me away. I know some of you can’t or refuse to wrap your mind around the concept that his leaving you was the ultimate act of love. But it was. I’ve come to understand that no matter how much I want them to stay, no matter how I feel about them. I’d rather you hurt me now and leave, than kill my spirit, kill my mind, kill my joy, and my kill peace by staying. Yes, I’ll cry, be sad, and even become mad; but I WILL FORGIVE YOU even if I never see you again. Because forgiveness sets me free from the bondage of bitterness that long-term unforgiveness surely brings.