Alice had been married to John for 16 years. They had 3 children together. Alice had found out that John had been sending text messages to other women, asking them to meet up at times he had told Alice he was at business meetings. Very quickly, their marriage dissolved and John decided he wanted to live a life of indulgence and break his marriage.
Two years on, Alice couldn’t stop talking about what her husband did to her after 16 years of commitment, 3 children and all the sacrifices she made for her family. Alice was angry and very bitter. She was hurt, carried a lot of emotional pain, and couldn’t get over such a great betrayal. Her life was affected daily by the memories and the public rejection. She attributed a lot of her current circumstance to her marriage break down. Not a week would pass without Alice speaking out against her ex-husband John.
From the beginning, Alice had a choice. She could have chosen to forgive her husband (she still had a right to be angry) or she could remain as she is, two years later, bitter and carrying a weight of pain. If Alice had made a decision to forgive, despite her emotions or feelings, it is likely that Alice would have moved forward in every area of her life, without that jilting daily reminder of her painful past. She would be forward moving and thinking vs re-living history and allowing the bitterness and pain to resurface regularly.
As I spend time with those going through the struggle, I notice so many carrying unnecessary pain, holding on to things of the past which prevents them from moving freely into their future. Often, this pain being carried is derived from unforgiveness.
Whether the unforgiveness stems from a past relationship, current relationship, friendship, work relationship, family, expectations from others not being delivered, or even self-expectations causing us to be disappointed in ourselves, it is so important that we let go of what we cannot change and learn to forgive.
Unforgiveness can also be a result of traumatic experiences in early childhood, sexual, physical or emotional abuse, deprivation of love, loss of a loved one, betrayal or perhaps someone was dishonest or disloyal to you. All these things can allow us to hold unforgiveness, creating bitter-roots within.
Unforgiveness is such an ugly, unnecessary burden that many carry on a daily basis. The heaviness, the pain, the disappointment, the rejection – so many reactions stem from unforgiveness.
I understand that it is often difficult to ‘let it go’. Often, we want justification, answers, something to change, an apology, someone to confess they have wronged you. Unfortunately, we can only work with what is within our control – it is within our control to forgive.
Forgiveness is a choice! It is so important that forgiveness becomes second nature to us.
You may be thinking, “you have no idea what I’ve been through”. You are absolutely right! No-one will truly be able to understand what you’ve been through, or understand how you were affected. The common denominator is the pain that unforgiveness has to our body, mind, emotions and spirit. Pain is released when we forgive.
I think it’s so important to understand that forgiveness is a conscious choice that we make. Regardless of feelings or emotion, it is a decision that we make. It may not happen overnight, it may take days or weeks. Making a decision to forgive will feel like a weight off your shoulders.
Forgiveness is so important and an ingredient to living a life of freedom. It is important that we choose to live a life burdensome-free by learning to forgive one another, regardless the infliction.