Freedom from Hatred

Why should I forgive?

“They” don’t deserve it. (Whoever “they” are.)

— They hurt me. And even if they’re sorry, they can never repair the damage they did.

— Their beliefs and actions are destroying the people, country, or something I love. They must be stopped.

— They’re unethical and greedy. They need to be made to compensate their victims.

— They committed crimes in their thirst for power. They must be brought to justice.

I’ve had all of these thoughts at different times.

And hatred accompanies each.

Hatred is a conscious decision

When I feel hatred, I have a decision to make.

The fact of the matter is:

— I can be angry as long as I choose.

— I can hate them as long as I choose.

— I can choose to let the harm they did fuel mistrust of everyone I meet.

— If I hate, I consciously choose to spread that hatred and inflict damage. Not only on who I hate, but on innocent victims as well.

Or I can choose to forgive.

What is forgiveness?

It took me many years and multiple life lessons to understand what forgiveness is.

Forgiveness means I let go of the pain and harm others cause me.

— Whether they meant to harm me or not.

— Even if they believe differently, take actions against what I believe, and harm the people, country, or something I love.

— Even when they steal and refuse to help their victims.

— Even if they committed crimes and, in this life, never pay for what they’ve done.

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult, conscious decisions to make.

So why should I forgive?

For the same reason God forgives me.

When I’m sorry and I ask Him, God forgives — and forgets — my sin.

For HIS sake.

He lets go of the pain and harm I’ve caused.

For HIS sake.

Because He decides to be free of anything except love.

And that’s why He wants me to forgive. To let go for MY sake. And decide to live free of hatred.

How do I forgive?

— Acknowledge the harm and the pain.

— Turn the harm and the pain over to God.

— Ask God to heal me and remove my hatred.

And the most difficult and effective action I can take:

Ask God to give those who harm me all the good things in life I want and more. Which includes freedom from pain and hatred.

Even if I don’t mean it, I pray it and keep praying it for as long as I have to until I feel free.

I don’t know why or how that works. But it always does.

And I want freedom from hatred. So, I choose to forgive.

What helps you let go of hatred?

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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.

10 thoughts on “Freedom from Hatred

  1. Thank you for your post, Joni. I especially appreciate what you brought out concerning God’s forgiveness of us for His name’s sake, and why we should forgive for our sake—to live free in Him! Blessings to you!

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Kim. 🙂 I appreciate your support and glad the words were helpful.

  2. Robin Jones Gunn wrote in her book, Becoming Us,— “forgiveness is like taking a shower. You feel all fresh and friendly right at first and want to go out and take on the world. Then a few days later, you realize you have to get cleaned up all over again, as if nothing was accomplished earlier.” (p.276) She also said, “Forgiveness and freedom is a process.”

    I love the steps you’ve shown us to go through the process. If we just went down your list each day, I think we would arrive sooner to the freedom part of the process:) Thanks for sharing your heart!!

    • Thanks for sharing, Jane. I’m a work in progress, like everyone. I have to go through the process all the time. Hope my post is helpful.

  3. The idea of forgiveness can seem easy, but we can only truly forgive with God’s help. As you say, forgiving and loving isn’t for wimps but the reward of freedom is so worth it.

    • Leigh, thanks so much for reading and commenting on my post. I appreciate your support!

  4. Great post, Joni. We all know easier said than done, but God provides when we need Him.

    • Thanks, Tim. I appreciate you reading and commenting. All of us need help to let go of ill feelings. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Joni, these are wise words we need to keep before us daily. Forgiveness is a choice we make but we can only do so by the power of God.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Barbara. Daily yes, and sometimes moment by moment. Forgiving and loving others isn’t for wimps. It’s difficult, but I’m so grateful God helps me. And freedom is the reward.

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