Many people live with unforgiveness in the world and often with really valid reasons that anyone would understand. But you don’t have to live life without forgiving people and you can do so even if you don’t feel like it.
Why would you forgive people? Well, unforgiveness causes health problems, it destroys relationships and it destroys people who don’t forgive. When we don’t forgive other people, it harms us. So you can help yourself by forgiving other people, even when they don’t deserve it.
Someone has described unforgiveness as drinking poison and hoping it hurts the person who has hurt you.
To forgive someone else actually helps you. It’s the antidote to the poison that has been ruining your life. Many people have been completely set free, even physically healed after they chose to forgive someone. When we forgive we can begin to let go of the past and determine to move forward in life.
When we forgive it’s like being set free from a prison that we’ve built around ourselves. You can live life without feeling held down or living life in chains or feeling like you’re under a heavy weight. You can let go of the weight.
Is it hard? Yes. Is it possible? Yes. Is it helpful? Yes!
I know from personal experience because I was able to forgive someone who was driving when my brother was killed. It was not the driver’s fault in any way but a member of my family wasn’t able to forgive the driver and so this family member lived with an anger in their heart until the day they died. This impacted their life in a negative way whereas I was able to live free of anger or bitterness.
Amber Guyger and Brandt Jean
In 2018 a police officer called Amber Guyger in Dallas shot dead a man called Botham Jean in his own home. She had mistakenly entered his home thinking it was her own apartment and shot Botham Jean dead. In court in October 2019, she was given a 10 year sentence.
But in Court, the brother of Botham Jean, called Brandt Jean made a speech to Amber Guyger. Instead of hating her, he did something that the Judge said he had never seen in Court in his whole career. Brandt Jean told Amber that he forgave her, that he loved her, that he wanted the best for her. Then (with Amber Guyger in tears and also the Judge), Brandt asked and got permission to give Amber a hug, which he did for quite a while.
Direct Link to the video (ABC News, YouTube, accessed 7 June 2020) – https://youtu.be/NkoE_GQsbNA
As a Christian, I believe that in a way, we’re all a bit like Amber. We all mess up and do wrong. But the great news is that Jesus said ‘look, you deserve to go to prison, but I’m going to serve that time for you.’ Jesus took that punishment so that we could be forgiven. Brandt Jean was acting like a true Christian when he forgave Amber Guyger. And he’s not the only one. There are thousands of examples of people (often Christians) forgiving others and just look at the healing it can bring
Even if you don’t believe in God, you can make a difference in your life and other people’s lives by forgiving someone and then keeping on forgiving. Go on. Do yourself and others a favour. I also believe that God will help you to forgive, if you ask him – just say ‘God, help me to forgive…’ and then name the person. Try it, you’ve got nothing to lose and maybe lots to gain!