Forgiving those who have hurt and wronged us is the most important step when it comes to healing our own minds, spirits, and hearts. You might be thinking, I don’t want to forgive them! They don’t deserve to be forgiven! But here it is–IT’S NOT FOR THEM! IT’S FOR YOU!

Another reason you might not want to forgive them is that you think you have to stay with him if you forgive him. YOU DON’T! You absolutely do NOT have to stay with someone who hurts you just because you’ve made the choice to forgive him. Those are two separate issues and two separate decisions—ones YOU have to make.

Here’s a very important issue to consider. If you refuse to forgive, holding on to all that hate and rage, you can literally cause you to become ill. I’m talking about everything from gastric and heart problems, to cancer! How’s that for an incentive to forgive?

Sometimes we hold onto all those awful feelings and refuse to forgive, because we think of it as punishment for those who hurt us. But does it work? I mean, have you ever had someone toward whom you had bad feelings come up to you and say, “You’ve gotta stop feeling this way! It’s really killing my new girlfriend and me that you’re resentful, bitter, and full of rage!”? Ya know?

When someone cheats on you, either he moves on, or you (meaning both of you) try to hold on and work it out. If you try to work it out, and you (meaning you alone) can’t forgive, you have ZERO chance of working it out. If he moves on, and you can’t forgive, you have ZERO chance of working it out WITH SOMEONE ELSE! Why? Because that bitterness and rage will cause you to punish the next guy who comes along.
 
Okay, I’m not saying you should throw caution to the wind and give yourself 100% to the next guy that comes along. To the contrary–you should be cautious, and look for signs that the next guy is worthy of your trust before you give it. But if you want to give a relationship a chance, you can’t blame the new guy for what the last guy did. You know he didn’t do those things to you, but it’s like you have to punish him just in case he’s going to, right? I know. But is that fair? And does it work? I should know. Remember, I was the Queen of Unforgiveness. It doesn’t work!
 
It wasn’t until I was in therapy years ago that I learned about forgiveness–forgiving others, as well as forgiving myself. I didn’t really understand what it was. I thought it meant saying that what the offending person did was okay, and by gosh, it wasn’t, and I wasn’t going to say it was! But that’s not what forgiveness is. It means that you’re making a decision to give up those awful feelings you’re holding onto, that are eating you up inside. You know, those feelings that make you sometimes feel like you’re going to be sick, but don’t do a thing to him? Yeah, those.
 
Forgiving also means that you give up any “right” or opportunity to get revenge on him for what he did. That’s a tough one. I know you want to hurt him back. And I know you think it would make you feel good, and it might–at that moment. But later on, when you had time to cool down, if you really loved him, you’d feel bad about hurting him. Okay, you think he deserves it, but does he? Are we so perfect that we should have the right to judge others?
 
When I found Jesus, I began to understand how important forgiveness is. The Bible tells us that if we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us for our sins. That’s powerful! When I first read that, my heart almost beat out of my chest! I knew I was in trouble, so I started praying all the time for God to put forgiveness in my heart for these people who had hurt me. I told Him that I was making a conscious decision to forgive these people, and I stopped obsessing over what they had done to me, and how I could get back at them. And it began to happen. Gradually, those awful feelings began to fade.
 
Another thing that made a huge difference in my life was another scripture that really scared me. You’ve heard it–“Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Or in today’s language, “You’ll be judged by the measure to which you judge others.” So if you think he doesn’t deserve to be forgiven, as far as God is concerned, neither do you, according to the Bible. Those are some really profound words, and they made a huge difference in the way I feel toward others. It’s hard not to judge others, but you have to train your mind to not go there. And it doesn’t mean you’re okay with what they did–just that you’re not willing to flip the switch on the electric chair! 
 
Have you ever thought of the amount of time, effort, and energy you waste on hating and raging about things people have done to hurt you? Have you thought about how much good you could do for yourself and others if you used all that time, effort and energy toward something positive? If you’ll trust me on this, and let go of the hate and unforgiveness, you’ll see what I mean. Your heart will feel so much lighter, and that grimace will leave your face. You’ll smile, your depression will get better (or maybe even disappear completely), and you’ll even look younger.

If you go out with that angry grimace on your face, you’ll be the biggest jerk magnet in town! I know–I’ve been there. But after you’ve learned to forgive others and yourself, you’ll be in a much better place mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, and then you will be more likely to attract the kind of person who won’t hurt you again. Healthy people are attracted to healthy people. If you need therapy, if you need God, whatever you need–do it for yourself. You deserve to be happy, and forgiveness is the key to happiness.
 
If you want to feel better for you, forgiving is something you need to work on. First, forgive yourself for your own sins, mistakes, and bad decisions–stop beating yourself up! And then start working on forgiving others. It’s usually a process that takes some time, and if you’re used to holding onto those old painful feelings, you’re probably going to need help. God will put forgiveness in your heart if you will pray sincerely for it and open your heart to receive it. If you don’t mean the prayer, you’re wasting your time. But you can forgive. Trust me! If I–the former Queen of Unforgiveness, Bitterness, Rage and Pain–can do it, ANYONE CAN DO IT!!