To forgive is to ‘no longer feel angry about or wish to punish (an offence, flaw, or mistake). I have always heard the term ‘forgive and forget’ and as a Christian, forgiveness is a big thing. After all, every Sunday I quote the Lord’s Prayer and vow to ‘forgive those who trespass against us’ as I can always trust God to ‘forgive [my own] trespasses’. However, I have, sometimes, been situations where I was not able to forgive. Many were due to my pride, and others due to the level of hurt a person may have caused me. I’ve now come to understand that forgiveness, instead of holding a grudge, can be towards your advantage, instead of being seen as a weak person.
A few weeks ago, I had an encounter with someone I considered an acquaintance about a subject that is very important to me (you may be able to guess). In this case, I was angered by an offence. They were defending themselves, despite my reasonings as to why what was said hurt me. For a day and a half, the sight of them angered me so much to the point where I could feel my pulse racing and my body heating up. During that time, I was studying about diseases/illnesses that are fatal, including hypertension. I learnt that hypertension is an illness that can be detected with a high blood pressure and pulse rate i.e. The heart is needing to use more energy to pump oxygenated blood around the body. As you can tell, I was freaked out. My BP was increasing and I couldn’t keep still.
I’m not saying that I had hypertension, as that is a long-term illness that is incurable, but I had to step back for a minute and check myself. Why was I getting so worked up? I knew I was in the right in that situation, so why was I still mad? Of course, I had every right to be angry, however, it was starting to negatively affect my health. After discussing my feelings with the person, and listening to their sincere apology (their first attempt was feeble and that only angered me even more), I resolved to forgive and forget. As cliché as this sounds, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Almost immediately, I felt a lot better and our relationship was back on track, to some extent.
The latter part of the definition of forgiveness, no longer wishing to ‘punish’ an offence, flaw or mistake, is something that I believe is very important. I’d like to think that matter what somebody has done to you, retaliating is never (or, at least, rarely) the answer. To actually inflict harm, in whatever form, on a person who did you wrong will only provide you short-term satisfaction. Unless you’re the ruler of Pettyville, exercising revenge on a person will only lower your standards to their own level, making you not any better than the other party. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
I understand that there are some occasions where the idea of forgiving is out of the question. I am guilty of that, myself. There are, still, situations where, by not forgiving, I have not caused self-inflicting harm to myself, and I am doing fine. As self-contradictory as I am sounding, when a person has betrayed your trust or done wrong to you, there are cases where being the ‘bigger person’ is not applicable. In no way am I saying that you should forgive every person who did you wrong, however sometimes you need to take a timeout and think? Is this person actually worth my stress and tears by holding this grudge? Or do I forgive (and ignore, I mean, forget), so that I can finally breathe again?
Words of advice: Be selfish. If holding a grudge is having a negative effect on your health, then be the bigger person and forgive. Or you could just forget their existence, and continue to slay as you usually do.