We have all been offended at different points in our lives — some more painful than others. A lot of us have been hurt very deeply and have felt either betrayed or violated by the people around us.
This has caused a lot of folks to walk around with heavy hearts despite the smiles on their faces, trying to hide the wounds with superficial things such as accomplishments, material things, or worse, offending other people.
Although it’s easier said than done, forgiving somebody actually benefits you more than it does the one who needs forgiveness.
Why Forgiveness Is Good for You
Forgiveness makes you healthier emotionally and mentally.
When you forgive others and let go of your grudges, healing takes place. Not physical healing but emotional and mental healing.
Sure you can always go for in-person or telehealth therapy. Those sessions help a lot. But without the act of forgiveness on your part, complete emotional and mental healing will never take place.
The ability to release offenders, whether they ask for forgiveness or not, lessens your stress and anxiety and improves your self-esteem. It gives you an inner glow that will manifest itself in how you relate to people and handle your affairs.
Forgiveness helps repair your relationships.
You’ve probably heard the saying, hurt people hurt people. If you take a step back from your situation and evaluate what happened, you might be surprised that the one who offended you did so not because of you but because of something they are struggling with internally.
The moment you realize this, it somehow unlocks the door to greater understanding and acceptance that this person has offended you because they have been hurting for the longest time and do not know how to respond to and interact with people.
This realization helps make extending grace a lot easier which also gives you the opportunity to reach out to the person and fix your relationship.
Forgiveness gives you peace of mind.
Jonathan Lockwood Huie said it best when he said, “Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”
Think of bitterness as a string that you’re holding on to with the other end tied to the person who hurt you. Even if you don’t see them, because of that invisible link that you have with them, you will continue to be bothered and live in hurt and bitterness.
When you forgive, you let go of that string or cut it off. It frees you from that bondage of anger and offense. It is only then that you experience true freedom and peace.
At the end of the day, forgiveness is still a choice that you have to make. Would you rather go through life embittered and angry or would you want to make the most of your life and not get bogged down by any excess baggage of past offenses? The choice is yours.
To quote Lewis B. Smedes, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”