Have you ever put on a pair of shoes that are so uncomfortable that you feel you are dragging your feet? I have, and it's the worst feeling. They make you so uncomfortable that you can barely walk, and your feet feel heavy. The same happens with unforgiveness; it drags you and puts a heavy load on you that does not let you grow and be free. Unforgiveness is so damaging that it is the root of many evils. It is so detrimental that everyone who carries it feels a heavy load that consumes them. That is why it is so important to identify it and cut the bondage from its root. It is crucial to recognize that we need to forgive not because the other person deserves it but because we deserve it. Because we deserve to:
Be free from that bondage.
Be free to grow.
To be free to carry that burden for life.
Be free from hate.
Be free from anger.
To be free from the wounds and the marks they left on us.
Be free and no longer be stuck in the past.
Be free to continue walking into the future.
Be free to receive great blessings from God.
By forgiving, we recognize that our fight is not with the person who hurt us; our war is with the root from where the offense arose. Jesus sets a beautiful example for us on the cross by saying, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Jesus recognized, in that instant, that it was not the people but what worked through them. Hate, arrogance, fear, ignorance, the deceit of others, false teachings, group pressure, self-interest, and appearances, among many other things, became the roots of many offenses, injuries, and atrocious actions against Jesus.
We are all products of our past experiences; they are what form us. Sometimes, those experiences are not the best, creating bitterness, hardness, arrogance, hatred, and distrust, among many other burdens that accumulate and create a shell that makes us harsh with others. When we understand that our war is not against flesh and blood but against principalities... we can see beyond the offense and begin to heal. It is not easy; I say this from my own experience. It is difficult and even more so when you suffer deep wounds. But it's not impossible. We can transform what the enemy tries to use to destroy us into an opportunity for growth and restoration in our lives.
I know you are thinking, what happens when the offense is great, like when they hurt you physically or kill a loved one? The damage is worse in these cases, and I know that forgiving will not be easy and perhaps even impossible for us. That is when we must invite God to take control and guide us. He is the only one who can heal our wounds and guide us throughout the healing process. He is the only one who can help us complete the cycle and lead us to forgiveness. The lack of forgiveness chains us to the offenders, giving them power over our emotions and lives. It allows them to keep us tied to the past and prevent us from moving forward. By forgiving, you cut those chains, and only then you can fly over any problem or situation again. Otherwise, you will continue to wallow in pain and repeat the same thing forever. You will be in a vicious circle that will prevent you from reaching the purpose God has for you.
There is a famous phrase that says, "I forgive, but I don't forget." And that sentence is wrong. Not forgetting implies constantly bleeding from the wound and carrying all the baggage. To forgive, you have to forget. We cannot fool ourselves. Not forgetting fills us with bitterness that will torment us. And that bitterness is a weapon that the enemy will use against you when you least expect it. And you know what? We can become the offenders because that type of root makes us vulnerable to anger and hatred. When we least expect it, we will explode against someone who has nothing to do with the original offense.
Forgiving does not imply that you must continue a relationship with the offender; you can forgive and walk away for your good. It is something healthy and even recommended in many cases. But be careful! Because sometimes we want to break ties for silly offenses or small and unimportant mistakes that can be amended. There's a time when we only look at the speck in someone else's eye and not the one in ours. You have to be sensible and not want to run out of a relationship because of nonsense or stupidity. We must be fair when deciding whether we continue fighting to restore ties with someone.
It is also vital for us to recognize when it is time to seek help because it has become impossible for us to heal. Talking to someone helps a lot. When we remain silent for too long, our bitterness grows, and we drown in our pain. Talking about painful situations that damaged us helps us take away their power over our lives. We take control of what happened and begin a liberating process. True freedom is found in letting go and taking control of the enemy over your emotions and your life.
Today, God is allowing you to come out from that place of darkness and condemnation that is unforgiveness and start walking toward the light. God is inviting you to take the first step and thus begin to break the bondage that prevents you from being happy and growing. Today, say out loud: I forgive you (mention the person's name) because I deserve to be at peace, happy and free!