When We Refuse to Forgive
When We Refuse to Forgive
When events occur in our life, wounding our hearts, we experience many powerful emotions. These intense emotion many times can and have long-lasting and far-reaching effects in our lives. We may have been wounded by an event in our life and had to deal with the effects of those emotions. The effects of these experiences may affect our lives, our relationships with others and the decisions we make over many years. But for whatever reason many times we are unwilling to forgive and to release that bitterness and forgiveness for those that have offended us.
There may be another group of individuals that are burdened with a larger burden, those who don’t think of themselves as bitter or unforgiving people. If this group would let the Spirit of God open them up they would discover seeds of bitterness that have taken deep root in their hearts. In our society today we have a therapeutic culture that is widely accepted to acknowledge that we have been hurt deeply by others. It’s a lot harder to admit that we’ve let that hurt escalate into unforgiveness and bitterness because that places the responsibility on our shoulders.
Our society is so full of rancor and bitterness; we see it in our political system. Democrats call Republicans names and try to destroy them. Republicans call Democrats names and try to destroy them. This is an everyday occurrence in our society. Every day in America there are tens of thousands of new lawsuits filed. Our universities and colleges are graduating more lawyers than they are engineers. We must create employment for all of these attorneys. There are those who don’t let their bitterness lead them into litigation or erupt into violent crimes or addictions, They are often saddled with more subtle forms of expression: silent distrust, insecurity, illogical fears, sudden indifference, compulsive agitation and restlessness. These forms of emotional expression may be as devastating to an individual as violent crimes and addictions. I haven’t seen a study on the effect of these forms of emotional expression but I know that it is devastating to each individual that allows them to affect their lives.
The question we must ask ourselves: How can you know if your hurt has turned to bitterness in your life? Have we allowed that deep hurt to bring bitterness and anger into our lives? Many times in Scripture Paul tells us that we need to examine ourselves. Not only to review the events of the day but to determine if we have sinned against someone or against God. We need to examine our lives to determine how the events of our lives are affecting our lives. Many times it’s difficult for us to see how the events in our lives are affecting us. To do this I would suggest the following: Replay in your mind the event that hurt you. Think of a particular person or situation where you still feel angry. Try not to think about the person, event, or circumstance that caused you so much pain. Do you have a secret desire to see that person pay for what he or she did to you? Do you think deep in your heart that you wouldn’t mind if something bad happened to that person who hurt you? Do you often find yourself telling others how this person has hurt you? Do you allow the conversations to revolve around the situation? Whenever their name comes up are you more likely to say something negative than something positive about them? The answers to these questions reveal the resentment and unforgiveness in our hearts. They may allow us to see something in ourselves we never thought we had become.