When I was in middle and high school, I was an easy target.
People who felt inadequate themselves took delight in making me miserable. You know the age old motivation. If I knock you down, I look taller.
I felt defenseless as these inconsiderate classmates hurled their insults at me. It varied as to whether it was for personal delight or public humiliation. Either way, I hated it.
I didn’t cry. I just felt like crawling into a shell, loading a bazooka, and pointing the business end through the crack.
But I never pulled the trigger.
As time went by, and experiences repeated themselves, I learned something.
The expressions on my tormenters faces were happy.
This explains the first reason you should forgive your offender.
While you’re burning inside, your tormenter could care less. He’s probably not sitting around feeling guilty that he broke your heart, stomped on your confidence, or made you look like the biggest fool in history. Chances are, he’s forgotten all about it and won’t even think about making you miserable until the next time he sees you.
And there’s no guarantee he’ll even pester you then.
The truth is he’s thinking about himself way more than he’s thinking about you.
So be careful because …
That hot oven that’s blazing inside you will burn you more than it will your offender.
Maybe you’ve heard about resentment. Here’s a great way to see it:
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
When I first learned how to cook, I baked some taco shells. Naturally, you don’t want to overdo it, so you have to check to see if they’re done before you take them out. Well, I put my hand in the oven mitt. I reached inside and … my wrist hit the side of the oven.
The pain was immediate and extremely hot.
I shook my hand in the hopes of wringing the pain out.
It didn’t work.
The lesson I learned was when you get too close to a hot oven, you better expect to get burned.
If you’re familiar with the story of the prophet Daniel in the Bible, you may remember that while he and his friends didn’t roast in the oven, the hired hands who put them into the fire did.
When you hold a grudge, you get burned worse than your offender.
So why not do this…
Forgive them. Forget about it. Move on to something more healthy and productive.
When you cut the ties your grudges place on you, you’re really free. You won’t stay awake at night reliving the torment. You won’t spent your leisure hours hoping your offender will fall off the edge of a mountain and die a painful death. And you won’t have a heart attack prompted by a steady diet of bitterness.
When you withhold forgiveness you sentence yourself to a life of weakness.
When you forgive, you open doors that you closed to yourself.
You’re not here to suffer in silence. We need you. So if someone has hurt you in the past, forgive them. Let it go and you’ll be free to blossom where you are. Your talents will be awakened and the world around you will be more colorful, vibrant, and beautiful.
So please forgive. Do it in person if you can. If you can’t, send a message. At the very least, forgive them in your heart. It’s the only way to peace in this troubled world.
Can you remember a time when forgiveness made a difference in your life?