Forgiveness can be a really difficult thing to master. Sometimes, it feels like it’s easier to stay angry or to cast blame on someone else. Recently, God taught me an incredibly valuable lesson in forgiveness: it’s within my control, and my control only.
For a long time, I had the mindset that forgiveness was rooted in the other person. That until the person who hurt me asked for my forgiveness, I had to be angry or hold a grudge. But operating like this makes you bitter, unhappy, and cranky. It ruins your mood, and sometimes, your life.
All the while, the person who hurt you may not even know they offended you. Even if they do know, they could get over it within a few minutes, while you end up carrying the grudge for days, weeks, or even years! The other person then goes on happily with their life while you suffer. How is that fair?
So now, I picture a raincoat. And when someone hurts me, I remind myself to let it go right then and there – not to dwell on it or to let it stew inside until my anger boils over. That’s their burden to bear and they will have to answer for their own actions. Instead, I pray for love towards that person and all of God’s best blessings. And it’s really hard to hate the person you’re praying for.
This parable reminds us that God forgave us like that. I don’t know if you’ve ever been cheated on, but when we turn to sin or idols instead of God, to Him it feels a lot like adultery (check out our e-study on harlotry and the church metaphor). A hurt and betrayal that huge can totally be justified by a life long grudge. But not to our God. If we repent and return to Him, He forgives our sin and casts it as deep as the sea.
Do the same for those who wrong you – regardless of whether they ask for your forgiveness. Because at the end of the day, it’s within your control. You can choose to forgive someone or you can carry a grudge. Trust me, your life will be much happier and lighter if you choose the former.