Even knowing that, for some of us it’s still hard to forgive. The anguish is too deep. The traumas of our childhood remain stuck in our memories.
Hurting back doesn’t satisfy. We may think it will, but it doesn’t. If I sock you after you struck me, it doesn’t lessen the sting I felt. Nor does it diminish my sadness that you hit me. At best, retaliation gives a momentary respite from pain. The only way to experience healing and peace is to release the pain—that is, to forgive.
Until we can forgive, we’re in a prison, padlocked in our heartache and locked out of the possibility of experiencing healing and freedom. In short, we’re unable to experience peace because we’re still bolted to the past.
Someone wisely said, “Without forgiveness, we remain tethered to the person who harmed us. We’re bound by chains of bitterness and vengeance. Until we can forgive the one who harmed us, we’re unable to grab hold the key that frees us from our prison. Our perpetrators are still inflicting agony and despair. That person is our jailer.”
When we forgive, we take control of our lives and feelings. We become our own liberators.
Above all, we don’t forgive to help our perpetrators. We forgive for ourselves. Forgiveness is the best form of self-interest.
The best way to win over our oppressor is to forgive him
and not allow him to continue the torment.