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The 3 Reasons People Don’t Forgive

January 10th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments
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There are many commonalities we all experience on this strange trip called life.  Some experiences are colored with warm sunny feelings, while others are wrought with dark turbulent emotions.  One of those things wrought with despair and guaranteed to keep us where we don’t want to be is to not forgive, ourselves or others.  If the lack of  forgiveness is dark and emotionally crippling, wouldn’t it make sense to forgive would add light to our lives?  Divine, so to speak.

We’ve all had horrible things inflicted on us by others.  Whether they have been intentional or done by accident.  We, in turn, have done things which have hurt others.  It is a cycle, which only forgiveness can break.  If this is true, why is it so hard to forgive?

Maybe, if we can understand the reasons we don’t forgive, it might get easier to take the initial steps on the road to forgiveness.  Here are 3 reasons people chose to not forgive.

1.  Punishing the offender.  By never forgiving the person who hurt us we feel in some way we are punishing them for inflicting the hurt.  This is a thought process born from anger.  We want to lash out at them, and by denying them forgiveness, we can continue to punish them.

Flawed logic.  Why?  Because, the only one being punished by our lack of forgiveness is us.  The other person may not even know they hurt us.  They are unaffected by our negative feelings.  We are the ones who are hurt, and the negative feelings only deepen the hurt, exponentially.

2.  We don’t want to condone what they did. By denying  forgiveness, we are letting them know, we believe what they did was wrong.  We are still angry and hurt by their actions.

Another piece of flawed logic.  Forgiveness doesn’t have any bearing on condoning bad behavior.  It is possible to not like what someone did, but still forgive them.

3.  Can’t let it go. The anger from what someone has done to us is like a festering sore that can’t get well because we keep picking off the scab.  We have to revisit it often, poke it a couple of times until we feel that all consuming feelings of pain and anguish.

Flawed again.  If we continue to revisit our hurt, we are reinforcing the bad feelings.  It never gets well as long as we haven’t forgiven.

If we use any of these 3 things to stop us from forgiving, we only keep ourselves locked into being a victim.

The main point of all of this is, the only one we hurt by not forgiving, is ourselves.  The lack of forgiveness only draws more like feelings to us until we are trapped in a world of fear, hate and anger all wrapped up together in one smothering bundle.  We feel horrible, lost and sad.

I have been very hurt by others who I felt had wronged me.  I realized for me to let it go, I had to learn to bless them….and mean it.  It was hard, in the beginning, to ask for blessings for them, who I was still so angry with.  To be able to wish them well, and not feel that brick laying in the bottom of my stomach, took time.  But, I continued to practice it.  Every time I thought of them or the situation, I would shift my thoughts. Instead of feeling angry, I would ask God to bless them.  After awhile, it became easier.  Soon, I found I didn’t really think of them or the situation at all.  I had truly forgiven them.

My world was back to the sunny warm feelings of love and appreciation for my life.  I had conquered the lack of forgiveness, one more time.  Each time, I find it’s easier to let things go.  I can wish them well, but to be away from me.

After all, the example is on the cross.  If he can do it, why shouldn’t I?

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