If you’ve lived on this planet for any amount of time, you’ve been wronged at some point. If you’ve lived on this planet for any extended amount of time, then you’ve been wronged by someone on the deepest level. It happens to all of us. And we’ve all completely let someone else down somewhere along the line as well. When we’ve been wronged on the deepest level, taken advantage of, harmed, or betrayed it can seem like life will never be right again. But it will. And it most likely will need to start with forgiveness. Forgiveness is always about us, not the victimizer. That person doesn’t need your forgiveness in order to make peace with what they’ve done. But you’ll need to forgive that person in order to make peace in your own hear and life. Forgiveness is about letting go of our hurt, our pain and our bitterness so that it doesn’t poison our hearts. We’ve all heard this before, but that’s because it is true.
We can’t hold onto pain, anger and bitterness and at the same time be free to accept love, the Divine, and growth. When we hold on to the anger and bitterness, we are blocking the ability for love and growth to move in our lives.
Someone once said that forgiving means forgetting. Well I think that is total BS. When have you ever truly forgotten when someone else harmed you? And why would you forget that? Forgetting has nothing to do with it and not forgetting can help guide us safely in interactions with that person in the future. However forgiving does mean letting go and making room in your heart for healing.
You might say, ‘Brad, you have no idea what this person did. It’s unspeakable.’ I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you were hurt and wronged in such a terrible way. But holding on to the anger and bitterness will never make you right. It won’t change what has happened. It won’t heal you. It won’t bring some semblance of peace back into your life. It will only drag you to the bottom of a deep, cold and lonely ocean floor of malice.
I have found that forgiveness is always a choice at first, never a feeling. Rarely have I been wronged and immediately felt like forgiving. But at some point I made the choice to forgive that person even though I didn’t feel like. And then, every time the pain or anger comes up, I continue again and again to forgive that person. Until one day, the feeling is there and I find that I have completely forgiven that person. And do you know how I’m aware that I’ve completely forgiven them? The bitterness is gone. And its not just because time has passed. Its because I’ve chosen to forgive.
That person that’s done those horrible things to you? They may never know that you’ve forgiven them. They don’t have to. The forgiveness isn’t for them… it’s for you. This is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my life. And I need reminded of it every time someone crosses me. Given a choice between malice and forgiveness, I choose forgiveness.
Today I will choose forgiveness. I choose to let go of my stong hold on the pain, anger, and bitterness, and I choose to receive love, hope, and joy. Choosing forgiveness means healing for me.