" Ask God for forgiveness because I will not forgive you,"
" I can forgive you, but I will never forget,"
" He should be the one asking for forgiveness,"
" What she did is unforgivable...
Have you heard these expressions? I know you may have not only heard them, but you have said them yourself. Most of the time, we know what we should do when we encounter a situation that requires forgiveness. Then, why do we keep waiting for what we believe is the right time? Are we delaying our responsibility because we do not dare to admit our faults? I think we mistakenly believe that if we ask for forgiveness, that makes us inferior or weak. Delaying forgiveness makes life complicated, creates a burden, and hurts more.
We choke in our pride and say: “I did not do anything, he is the one who did it; I should not be the one asking for forgiveness." Is that true? Every time I analyze situations in my life where I got hurt or betrayed, I would find that most of the time, a misunderstanding occurred, or expectations were unfulfilled. If you did not communicate correctly or your expectations were unfulfilled, is that the other's fault? Because sometimes, your expectations are so unrealistic that they are almost impossible to fulfill. Most of the time, the other person involved does not even know what happened and does not know why you are so hurt. Your excuse could be that you did not start the problem, this could be true, but you let it escalate and did nothing to remediate it.
Why is it so hard to be the first person to act on behalf of the relationship and give the first step to reconciliation? I'm talking in every relationship: friends, family, husband and wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, siblings, parents, and children, between co-workers, between our faith family, in every relationship. Are we so perfect and flawless that we cannot make the first move? Does thinking that your relationship is worth saving it by humbling yourselves make you weaker? I think you already know the answer to that. NO, on the contrary, it makes you stronger, and it makes you a conqueror. A conqueror of your pride because it requires you to be humble, to kill your self-pride, and put others' feelings first.
You will probably tell me, Sylvia, how come you are asking me to forgive? He was the one who hurt me, what she did is unforgivable, he hurt my family, among other things. I know it is easier to say it than to do it. I had struggled with forgiveness too. I can testify that it has been a blessing every time I decided to forgive. The joy of forgiving is so powerful. Even more when the other person does not ask forgiveness and you forgive. It is like telling the devil, “You did not get away with it because I was stronger than you thought."
Forgiveness is not something you only give to those you believe deserve it. Forgiveness should not be something you give at desire; we should not hold others captive in unforgiveness. Thank God that He is merciful and does not make distinctions. He looks beyond our sins, and even if we do not deserve it, He sees us worthy of His Grace.
And you could tell me, but what would you do in cases when your life or the life of someone you love were in danger or when your dignity, reputation, or wellbeing was compromised or damaged? How do you forgive something like that? It is not easy, but if you live with unforgiveness, you bound yourself to the hurt it produces forever. You will be bounded to that person until you decide to let it go. You do not want these negative bindings controlling you. Forgiving others does not mean you will continue in the same situation or that you are giving up your rights. It means you are ready to move on, be free, put yourself as a priority and start taking care of yourself.
Before you get mad at someone or stop talking to them, remember, our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Please remember that we are not exempt from hurting someone. God forgave us even when we did not ask for forgiveness, even when we did not deserve it.
Think of Jesus's example, His words upon the cross; he had all the right to despise the men that were doing all those bad things to Him, but instead of cursing them and hating them, he chose to love and forgiveness by saying: “Father forgive them because they do not know what they are doing." Wow, what a great example of true love and forgiveness. Let us honor His sacrifice by changing our vengeful ways and start practicing true forgiveness. There is much to gain when we take the first step because forgiving others makes us free. When we release the heavy load that has been holding us back and enslaving us, we become more compassionate and better human beings.