By Dr. Charles Stanley
Is there someone you need to forgive? Are there names or faces that spring to mind whenever you become angry or frustrated? Who is it that has wronged you—wounding you and causing you to be cynical about your circumstances?
At times we rationalize our inability to let go of the pain we feel and to forgive others. We think that if we don’t constantly call our anger to mind, the offenders will go unpunished. If we don’t replay the evil they’ve done, it will be forgotten. In a sense, we believe our resentment and bitterness free us, but they really imprison us because they keep us focused on the people who hurt us.
Friend, if the Holy Spirit has identified a person or group of people that you need to forgive, it’s because He wants to free you from the devastation of unforgiveness. By holding on to your pain, you are not punishing the people who’ve wounded you. Rather, you’re only making what they’ve done to you exponentially worse.
In fact, when you refuse to let go of your bitterness towards others, you can become so afraid of being wounded again that you isolate yourself and shut yourself off from receiving the love you so desperately need. You forfeit the peace and joy that should rightfully be yours as a child of God by allowing memories of that person’s actions to torment you repeatedly. It affects everything in your life and may even cause long-term illnesses, emotional problems, and terrible conflicts with the people who love you.
It may be completely understandable that you’re angry and that you desire to be cautious around the individual or group that hurt you. You don’t want to be in that situation again, and you don’t want anyone else to be either. But you must understand forgiveness doesn’t mean you deny what happened to you—and it certainly doesn’t mean you allow the person who harmed you to abuse you again. Rather, you give the situation to the Father. You allow Him to heal you and set up healthy boundaries in your life.
As a child of God, you have the freedom and the ability to walk away from hurtful situations through forgiveness. Release the offender to the Lord and step out of the bondage. Make the choice to forgive others so that God can begin freeing you of the terrible consequences of unforgiveness.
Are you willing? If so, pray and open your heart to the Father. Don’t hold anything back. Allow the Lord to give you the strength to forgive, and receive the healing He wants to accomplish in your life.
Copyright 2010 In Touch Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org