When a loved one has made a decision that causes you pain, it can be downright devastating. Beyond navigating the messy aftermath of broken trust, you may find yourself overwhelmed by waves of anger and frustration day in and day out. Considering forgiveness in those moments might seem like an absurd, impossible notion. Especially so, if your loved one hasn’t yet repented.
However, forgiveness is not so much for the offender, as it is for the injured party.
While reconciliation requires both parties to mend the relationship through mutual effort and commitment, forgiveness can be extended no matter the circumstance. When you decide to embrace grace in the face of betrayal, you are choosing to make your health and wholeness a priority.
Consider the benefits of extending forgiveness below:
1. Unforgiveness is far more damaging to you than it is to your offender. Hanging onto anger and resentment (righteous or not) has been linked to a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, broken sleep patterns, chronic pain, and cardiovascular issues. Forgiveness, on the other hand, has been connected to lowered blood pressure, greater physical health, and a longer lifespan. Chances are, you have already gone through a great deal of pain. Choosing to cling to that hurt will only cause further injury to yourself.
2. Forgiveness can lift a heavy burden from your shoulders. Once you decide to forgive, the weight of bitterness is no longer your responsibility to carry.
3. Forgiveness frees your mind. Even small grudges have a way of growing, eventually consuming your thoughts and demanding your energy. Anger cannot be boxed in. It will rise up at inopportune moments, affecting your mood, your relationships, and your plans.
4. The decision to offer grace can have a powerful ripple effect, in your own life and that of others. Special occasions that both you and your loved one attend can be joy-filled, rather than angst-ridden. Forgiving a person who wronged you might even encourage him/her to make significant changes in life. Moreover, it may inspire those around you to extend the same consideration and reclaim peace for themselves.
5. Often making the decision to release anger offers the opportunity to self-reflect. Perhaps you will gain a greater perspective and discover that you had some amount of responsibility in the situation, allowing you to make amends as well.
Choosing forgiveness doesn’t condone wrongdoing. It isn’t for the offender. Nor is it simply for the purpose of restoring a broken relationship. Forgiveness is for YOU. Your heart, your mind, your life. It will lighten your mental load and release you from the pain of the past, so you can move forward, hopeful and unhindered.
If you have been dragged down by bitterness for far too long, you can reclaim freedom in forgiveness today.
We are honored to note that The Fully Thriving blog ranked 23rd on a list of the Top 100 Counseling Blogs. https://blog.feedspot.com/counseling_blogs/