In theory it sounds so easy to do, but in reality, it can actually prove to be quite difficult.
Small things can easily be forgiven. Oh, you ate my cookies without my permission. I really wanted them, but it’s okay.
While bigger offenses may take time. I can’t believe you lied to me or about me. You stole something valuable that can never be replaced. You hurt someone whom I love.
Eventually you forgive the person and decide to move on even if it means that you’ll never forget what they’ve done. Sometimes you may think that you have forgiven someone and you really haven’t.
Sometimes you refuse to forgive, the offense just seems too big to let go. How can you release them from the responsibility of all of the pain that they have caused you? How can you let them just go free like that?
You think you’re punishing them for all that you’ve been through.
But is that really the case? Are they really being punished because you refuse to forgive them for what they have done? Are they even aware that you haven’t forgiven them?
Most importantly… do they even care?
I learned this fact not too long ago when I realized that although I had said that I had forgiven someone, and I really had not. Deep down within, I was still waiting on the person to acknowledge what they had done to me and apologize. However, after speaking to them again, I began to realize that they would never accept their role in the pain they had caused.
Now, what was I going to do? Hold on to this pain and frustration and anger forever waiting for an apology that may never come? Was I going to walk around forever with that chain around my neck just to show how hurt I was just so I could prove a point?
How crazy is that? Where would that get me?
As soon as this realization hit me, I swear I could hear the Holy Spirit say, Let it go. And that’s what I did. I truly forgave and let it go, and the weight was lifted. Years of frustration and pain were gone. Not forgotten, but gone. Did the other person even know this had happened? Were they aware or alerted? Nope.
But I knew, and that’s all that mattered.
Let it go.
Let go of the pain and frustration and anger and sadness.
Just let it go.
Not for them, but for you. For God.
Since I let it go, this verse has come up time and time again as a friendly reminder, a welcomed reminder.
If God can forgive me (over and over again), who am I not to forgive others? I make mistakes. I hurt others. I want to be forgiven for any pain I’ve caused anyone else especially if I didn’t even realize that I did something to offend them. So why wouldn’t others deserve the same?
There’s a freedom that comes with this forgiveness. Freedom and peace.
Stop holding on waiting for them to deserve your forgiveness.
Give it anyway and move on.
Your soul will love you for it.