From time to time we get to a point where we just wish that we could move on. We find ourselves back in the same place again, facing the same issue that we’ve faced on more than one occasion. But despite our efforts we are seemingly unable to know what to do differently that will free us from this never-ending cycle. We might ask our friends advice, read the latest book or blog and put into practise a new set of techniques to help us overcome the issue. Stubbornly it remains.
A major factor in being able to move on in life is to cut our ties to the past. Before a ship can sail it must first release the mooring ropes and lift the anchor from the sea bed. Failure to do so will result in a pretty short trip and a hasty return to the same port. The engines might be running at full power and there may well be a large amount of noise and action, but in the end there is little achieved. So what anchors us to the past?
One thing that can seriously affect our progress in life is unforgiveness. By refusing to let go of past hurts we continue to drag a large, heavy bag with us through life. Our reaction to what has happened to us acts like a large weight that we’ve picked up, slowing our progress through life. After a while we don’t even bother looking in the bag to see what’s inside, we just carry it into every new situation that comes along. And guess what, we act out the same response again and again.
Forgiving is not easily. We want justice for what was wrongly done to us. The wrong must be paid for and we will fight to the last to see that happen. It feels that to forgive would be a betrayal of what we believe – the righting of wrongs. But the only person who is being punished for the wrong is us, as we carry around the hurt letting it poison our lives.
Now we’re not making excuses for what has happened but here are some thoughts that may help us to begin to take some things out of our bag.
- They didn’t know that what they had done was wrong
- They didn’t know how much it would hurt us
- They hadn’t been taught how to treat others with respect
- They hadn’t experienced love and kindness
- They had been seriously hurt in the past
- You got too close to them and they find it difficult to trust others
- We were overly sensitive and took offence
- They didn’t mean to hurt us but struggled to express themselves
- They decided to take the easy option because they couldn’t handle the situation
- They believed they were justified in what they did
- You had hurt them and they wanted to get their own back
Furthermore, there are better reasons to forgive:
- We are equally guilty of hurting others
- People are carrying unforgiveness because of what we’ve done
- We deserve punishment for all our wrongdoings
God says that unless we’re willing to forgive others then he can’t forgive us. Our present suffering is not some punishment for all our wrongdoing. The wonderful thing is that we can be free from our past and we can move on. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us, for all the things we’ve ever done and will ever do. All we need to do is share that gift with others.
Thank you that I can trust you to right all wrongs. You know the hearts of every person and you are just and true. You do not treat me as my sins deserve but instead have pardoned me through the death of your son. Help me to forgive those that have hurt me. Search my heart and reveal to me my true motives. I thank you that my future is secure in you and that you have promised to move me on. I put myself into your hands merciful God.
He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:10
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14