We’ve all been there. Someone did us wrong. Someone else broke a promise.
Unfortunately during our lifetime, we are bound to experience hurt in one form or the other. But, what poisons us is the inability to forgive.
Last night I was having a conversation with a woman who was speaking of the relationship between her and her mother. She spoke of how the bad choices made by her mom as she was growing up, caused many unnecessary hardships upon her and their family. She had to endure many terrible situations as a child. Situations that many of us only hear about through others or see in those popular, but often times depressing Lifetime movies. But, these choices didn’t only effect her childhood. They carried on into her adulthood as well. From the time she moved out at the early age of 10, she resented her mother for everything she had put her through and refused to have anything to do with her.
But then, nearly 30 years later she made a courageous choice – to forgive her mother. She realized that although her mom may not have been the greatest of mothers, she was still her mom. The only mom she had. So, she called her. They spoke. They cried. Her mom is different now. She’s overcome her own battles over the years. She missed her daughter and regretted all that she had done, along with the many things she hadn’t. Finally, after all those years, forgiveness brought peace to both of them. The woman told me that when she told her mom, “I forgive you”, that instantly a weight was lifted from her. A weight that she had carried with her for all those years. She cried as we spoke and I told her how courageous she was to take that step.
You see, this woman thought that her bitterness and unforgiveness was only hurting her mother and somehow making her “pay” for what she had done. But, what she did not realize was that she was actually hurting herself in the process. There’s a quote that says “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” For 30 years this woman had been drinking her own poison.
It’s not easy to forgive someone who has done you wrong. Many times it may be the last thing on earth you want to do. Forgiveness does not mean that you forget what happened. Nor does it mean that you accept it or approve of it. It simply means that you choose to move on. You choose to be free.
“The benefit of true forgiveness falls on the forgiver, not the forgiven.”