Forgiveness is necessary for spiritual growth. Going halfway and just speaking the words won't cut it. You must mean it down to your core. It must come from your heart, and you must feel it emotionally. The only way to move past a given situation (some bad thing that someone did to you) is to forgive the person that has wronged you. As a very dear friend of mine keeps saying, 'Let it go.'
Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy seven times.
"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred danarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, 'Pay what you owe.' Then his fellow slaves fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you? ' And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart." ....... Matthew 18:21-35
Forgiveness is not a two way street. Just because you absolve someone for something they have done, does not mean that they will absolve you for something you have done. Some people just do not have the capacity for exoneration. And sometimes it takes some time for you to absolve someone for something. It may take some time for you to get over the pain you feel, and that is okay. Creator is not on a timetable; time is a human invention. Just do it in your own time.
As a very spiritual person myself, people are always telling me that I must forgive them for something they did to me because of who I am. It's not fair to me, but they don't see it that way. Most of the time, people only see things from their own point of view, and they cannot see it from yours. Telling them that they are forgiven relieves their pain, but sometimes it takes some time for me to get over it and truly absolve them. Life is too short to hold a grudge so just let it go.
Creator has forgiven us for everything we have done in our lives (well, provided that we have asked for it). Doesn't it make sense that we should forgive others for doing bad things? Creator is willing to forgive us, but we are not willing to forgive others? Doesn't make any sense, does it?
It has been said that we cannot absolve others. They say that only God can do that; that it is beyond human capacity. I say that is a bunch of garbage; we do have that capacity. We can do this if we really want to. It's simply a choice we make.
Keep this in mind, it is very important. We forgive others for ourselves, not for them. Hating someone for something does not hurt that person, it only hurts us. That other person doesn't have any idea that you hate them secretly, so how could it possibly hurt them. Besides, if they are truly an evil person, why would they even care how you feel? Therefore, logically, holding a grudge or hating someone only hurts ourselves.
I have heard many people say, 'I do not hate the person, I hate the act.' I have read and studied the same bible that these people have read and studied, and nowhere did I EVER find a place where God or Jesus said that hate in ANY form is ok. My very dear friend, John Red Hat Duke said, 'There is no good hate, and there is no bad love.' Love in any form is always a good thing.
True forgiveness does not mean that you are OK with what someone else did. It simply means that you still love them without conditions in spite of what they do. It does not mean that you must allow them to continue doing whatever it is they did before. You are not a door mat. Part of the greatest Commandment is to love ourselves. If we continuously allow others to treat us poorly, we are not loving ourselves. The Bible tells us, 'Do not cast your pearls before swine.' Think of it this way ... if you have a dog, and he has eaten your cheeseburger off your plate when you weren't looking, you do not leave another cheeseburger on your plate that he can get to. You keep it away from him. This is the same concept. Do not give people you know for a fact will hurt you, the things they have hurt you with before. And of course, even when you forgive them, they will still be punished for their transgression. If humans do not punish them for their crimes, rest assured that God will punish them for what they did. Everyone will answer for their own actions in this life.
In order to truly absolve someone, we must be willing to relinquish our anger, release it. All the hurt feelings and bad blood must be let go. You must look inside yourself and decide (a definite conscious choice) that you want to release all the hurt feelings and anger. Total honesty with yourself is crucial here. Once you decide to let go of all the bad feelings, then you can truly absolve that person for what they did. Once you have forgiven them, you can move on with your life without burden.
Now, as far as trusting that person again ... well, that is a whole separate issue. That, I think, you will have to decide for yourself on a case by case basis. Good luck my friends, and may Creator guide your footsteps. Love you all.
by Dale L. Gustafson
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