Christy Jones remembers the day she received the e-mail that hit her in the chest like a jackhammer.
“You don’t know me, but I am no longer dating your husband …. I’m sorry for any pain I may have caused your family.”
Christy had the perfect family life. A devoted husband who regularly took her out on dates. Four wonderful children. A fulfilling career as a relationship coach.
Or at least she thought she did.
Christy read the e-mail over and over again. It felt like she was suspended from reality. But the pain of the revelation in that message was so great she couldn’t ignore it.
She confronted her husband Adrian with harsh, direct, probing questions fueled by the hurt she felt. “How could you do this? I need an explanation!” Her voice quivered as she spoke.
Adrian denied it at first. He became defensive, claiming it never happened. Then he hung up.
A few minutes later he called back. Choking back his tears, he begged Christy to forgive him.
It started innocently enough. Flirting with a customer at the car dealership led to a one night stand. What followed was a four month affair. When his mistress asked him if he was leaving his wife, Adrian ended the relationship.
Six months passed. During that time, Christy asked every question that was burning in her heart. Adrian humbly answered them all. He also confided his mistake with two men who would hold him accountable. Satisfied with Adrian’s repentance, Christy forgave him.
Their marriage has become stronger as a result.
When you forgive, you unlock the door to a prison of bitterness, resentment, and revenge that can suck all the life out of you.
The mistake we make when we refuse to forgive is thinking we have control when we don’t. When we choose to hold a grudge, we give up control over our happiness, contentment, and quality of life.
Whee we hold a grudge the very sight of our offender raises our blood pressure.
When we hold a grudge, we kill our happiness by filling our minds with thoughts of revenge.
When we hold a grudge, we destroy our health by stabbing our hearts with memories of our hurts.
The simple solution is to just let it go. Forgive and forget. Pick up, put it behind you, and move on with your life.
The truth is nobody is perfect. No matter how nice someone is, if you hang out with them long enough, they’ll hurt you. And when they do, remember that if you haven’t offended them yet, you eventually will.
It’s been said forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You’ll take a hundred pounds of stress off your chest the moment you forgive. It may not fix everything, but at least you’ll be free to move forward.
Forgive – and live.