As humans, we all sin. Sometimes our sins are against one another. Our choices can lead us down paths that can hurt someone we care about. When we are that victim, it can be difficult to accept what happened. Feelings of anger and betrayal can cloud our judgment. We fight back when we should forgive.
Forgiveness, one of the “fruit of the Spirit,” enables us to rise above ourselves in response to everyday challenges. When we forgive someone, we aren’t saying, “What you did was okay.” We can and should still hold others accountable for what they did or didn’t do. The act of forgiveness is not based on the actions of others but our attitude. It is challenging to perform, but forgiveness can set us free from the bondage of sin.
When we hold a grudge, we allow pain to corrupt our hearts. There, it weighs us down like an anchor, preventing us from moving forward. Any spite we have for the perpetrator only harms ourselves. Many times the person who wronged us doesn’t even know they hurt us.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean we should forget what happened. We learn who to trust by how someone treats us. If we take the time—and it can take some time—to work through the pain from that transgression, we can put it in the past. After that, we can find the strength to forgive and forge forward in life. It is much easier when the other person apologizes, but even if they don’t, we need to move on, or we will never fully heal.
Forgiveness is like releasing an anchor of resentment. We are then free to open our hearts like the sails of a ship to catch the wind and navigate through life. Will forgiving others prevent them from hurting us in the future? No, but it will give us a better command of how we treat ourselves in the future.