Forgiveness – Let It Go

For many years, I thought forgiving someone meant I had to condone what they did. Or put myself in a situation to let them harm me again.

And the idea that they would “get away with it” and not suffer some terrible punishment was torture to me. As if hanging onto the pain would somehow hurt them. Somehow exact the vengeance I feel they deserve.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean any of those things. All it means is that I make a conscious decision to let go of the pain they caused.

For me.

Not for them.

When I’m struggling to make that decision, I ask myself some questions (and answer them as well):

Q: Did I deserve what they did to me?

A: If no, then I don’t have to think about it further. If yes because I harmed them first and they retaliated, then I need to apologize and try to make up for it.

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Q: Do they even care that they hurt me?

A: Does it matter? Whether or not they apologize, or change, or I see them “get their just desserts”, it never helped me let go of the hatred and resentment.

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Q: Does it punish them if I carry the corroding acid of hatred that taints the way I view others or life?

A: I don’t want the hurt others cause to contaminate the relationships I have with people I love.

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Q: Do I want to be free and have peace, or do I want to be “possessed” and “owned” and “tortured” by the very people who hated me enough to harm me in the first place?

A: Seriously, I may not have the highest IQ. But I’m not stupid.

THE REAL SOLUTION:

But I tell you, my friend, sometimes the reasoning and “putting my mind to it” just don’t work. I still have trouble letting go of the hurt. There’s a sure way I’ve found that always works.

I PROMISE.

THIS. ALWAYS. WORKS.

I ask God to give that person all of the good things in life that I want and more, and to relieve me of the resentment I feel toward them.

I pray it even if I don’t mean it. I pray it every time I think about the pain they caused. I pray it every time I begin to plot how I can get revenge.

And I keep praying it until I am free of the pain.

The prayers may or may not change them. That isn’t the goal.

The prayers change me. Sometimes it takes hours, days, weeks, or months. But I find that I begin to want them to have what I want: a life where I feel loved and accepted and helped and cared for.

And then I receive the gift of freedom and peace.

I would rather pay the price of attaining that than the cost of living the hell that someone else creates for me.

My prayer for you is that you find what helps you let go of the pain you are feeling.

What do you do to forgive others? I would love to hear your comments!

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Joni Vance is an award-winning author of fiction, essay, and poetry. She loves mystery, history, and how God reveals Himself every day.

May God reveal the mystery of His love in your life story.  

2 thoughts on “Forgiveness – Let It Go

  1. Asking God to give you relief from the resentment you feel when someone has been offensive, and asking Him to give them all the good things you would love to have is such a good choice, and it also strengthens your relationship with God in the process. Thank you for sharing that with us!?

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