I used to be pretty good at holding a grudge. Whenever I thought someone wronged me, I would dwell on those negative feelings and carry them with me for days at a time.
I felt justified and, in some strange way, powerful in my anger. It was like the bitterness was a secret weapon that helped me win, even if the other person was unaware of it.
I have since learned life doesn’t work that way.
Holding on to resentment, even for just a few hours, does nothing but create high levels of stress and limit your ability to make good choices.
Lashing out, giving the cold shoulder or speaking illl of someone will never result in a better existence for anyone.
How can we possibly rise above our present situation and improve our lives if we are continually shackled to the past?
But First, Forgiveness Is NOT…Before we get to the commitments, let me first say that letting go and moving on is NOT about making the offense okay. There are many things in life, like infidelity or abuse, which should never happen.
You’re allowed to get upset and say, “That should never happen.” But unfortunately, it did happen, and now you have to do something with it.
Forgiveness also isn’t about forgetting the past, reconciling with dangerous people or eliminating your boundaries so it hurts less in the future.
You aren’t supposed to roll over and play dead or become a doormat that puts up with anything and everything.
Real forgiveness is about freedom and strength, not weakness.
Forgiveness IS…Forgiveness sets you free from negative emotions that sabotage you. It positions you for a level of personal victory that far surpasses the promised gain of revenge, because it allows you escape from the hurt feelings and make smarter choices.
When sadness, anger or offense are oozing from your pores, can you really do what’s best for your future?
In essence, forgiveness creates a door for pain to escape and healing to enter in, so you can change, grow and flourish.
The 8 Bold Commitments of ForgivenessIf you’re struggling to believe that forgiveness is really a sign of strength, then consider these eight bold commitments.
- I want something better for my life.
If you’re tired of the constant pain and the repeating difficulties and failures, you have the freedom to make a new choice. You have the power to step out from under the dark cloud and into the sunlight. You have the authority to drop the weight that has been hanging around your neck and holding you down. A happier and healthier life is yours for the taking.
- I refuse to let my past control my present and future.
Until now, the pain and the beliefs it created have been affecting you in negative ways. They may have even gone as far as misdirecting your desires, clouding your judgment and stealing your hope. By choosing to forgive you determine that you will no longer be a victim of your past, destined to repeat it. Instead, your best days are yet to come.
- How I feel is up to me, not my offender.
Anger was a natural response to the original offense, but allowing it to remain is entirely up to you. Your offender has power over you for as long as you allow your feelings to be dictated by the event. Through forgiveness, you take responsibility for how you feel and decide that this pain will no longer define who you are, what matters most, how the world works or how you will live.
- I want peace to replace my brokenness and truth to replace the lies.
Brokenness hurts a lot and you’re tired of it. You want to feel peace when you go to bed and when you wake up. You want to think of that event and the people involved and feel nothing but love and compassion. You refuse to have the wool pulled over your eyes any longer by the lies you have believed, and you’re ready to believe and accept the truth about who you really are.
- I choose victory over vengeance.
Revenge makes a lot of empty promises. Many people have “gotten back” at their enemies and failed to feel any better. Real victory happens through forgiveness because it allows the hole to be filled. Vengeance just perpetuates and deepens the problem.
- I will be courageous.
Forgiveness is one of the most courageous things you can do. It means that you give up your right to fix the problem in order to make yourself feel better. You choose to let go and make room for healing to take place. Anger might feel tough, but forgiveness is courageous.
- I will be powerful.
A wealthy man or woman is in a much better position to forgive a person’s debt than one who is flat broke. They have the freedom to let it go. Similarly, when you choose to forgive, you opt to live from a place of abundance, rather than a place of deficit. Anyone can hold a grudge and demand repayment for their losses, but only a truly powerful person can forgive instead.
- I want to be better, stronger and wiser than ever before.
Pain is a great teacher, but only if we allow it to be. Forgiveness means that the offense is no longer about you and what you have lost. Instead, it’s about who you can become, what you stand to gain, and the difference you can now make in the lives of other people.
Forgiveness is rarely easy, but it certainly is worth it.
How will you be strong through forgiveness this week?