The past few weeks I have been thinking about a very complex subject. The issue of forgiveness has been on my mind a lot the last few years and even more so in the last couple of weeks. The very definition of forgiving is the process of letting go resentment. It doesn't necessarily mean that you give absolution to the person that evoked the feelings in the first place. To me, it just means that you are taking a stand to let go of these emotions (whether it's anger, resentment, betrayal or other feelings).
In my life time, I have seen people who forgive easily and those that hold onto grudges for a long time. I have always thought of myself as a very forgiving person. A few months ago, I realized that statement might not be true. It's scary to think that my heart & my brain don't want to let go of resentment. In my past, I forgave easily. Someone stood me up, the words easily parted my lips ... "It's okay. I forgive you." Someone didn't call me when they said they would, "No big deal." Someone was very late, "Not a problem."
Some where along the line between then and now, it has become a serious problem. Someone is late and it makes me mad. Not only that day, but the anger lasts for days. Someone doesn't call and it makes me sad. Sometimes for just the moment and sometimes for days. Someone stands me up ... and I'm both angry and sad at the same time. Someone hurts someone else I'm close to and that resentment lasts for years.
I have a few very close friends. Those friends have been hurt by others. I think I felt more resentment and anger towards the hurter months later than even my friends than were hurt. How could someone hurt someone else so deeply? I read the other day that just the simple act of forgiveness can relieve many health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, the act of forgiveness can reduce blood pressure, reduce stress, lower heart rate, reduce chronic pain and many other things.
In the past week, I have chosen to let go of resentment of at least one person and I'm in the process of trying to forgive another. Not only is it healthy, but there are many passages in the bible on forgiveness. Here is one that I found.
Ephesians 4:31 You must put away every kind of bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and evil, slanderous talk. 4:32 Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.
So pray that I can forgive those that need forgiveness even if they don't ask.