On this anniversary of the 911 tragedy, Facebook is littered with memories of the horrific event. For us older generation it is much like the President Kennedy assassination: we all remember where we were when the devastating news broke. We will never forget where we were and what happened.
But this is different from the JFK assassination. Instead of one person dying 2,977 died. It staggers the mind. And here’s another difference: we saw some of it unfold live on TV right in front of our eyes. The images and sounds of 911 are here to stay.
No wonder Osama Bin Ladin become the most hated and hunted man on the planet. And small wonder some people danced in the streets at the announcement of his death when a group of elite US soldiers broke into his compound and fired shots.
There are Osama Bin Laden’s in your life who hurt you deeply. They might have hurt you at such a profound level you want them to suffer and bleed. You’ve never forgotten what they did to you. And if they fell over dead you might do the happy dance.
But wait a minute. If this describes you then you need to work on forgiving the Osama Bin Laden’s of your life.
Here’s 3 reasons why you need to work hard to forgive those who have wounded you.
First, you can never move forward into the future until you let go of the past.
This is a theme I write about a lot. Why? Because I have discovered it to be true in my own life. Think of it this way. Imagine you are taking the garbage out to the curb, holding a bag of smelly mess in each hand, and someone approaches you. They are bringing over the large package the UPS mistakenly left at their house but should have gone to yours. They want to hand it to you but if you want to grab the new you must let go of the old,
The same is true of the past. You can only embrace the future when you let go of the past. Don’t forget it. But you must allow it to be in the past instead of with you every day. And the best way for this to happen is to forgive those who have hurt you.
Second, when you hang on to the past and refuse to forgive, you have given the bad guys a lingering power over your life. Why would you do that? Haven’t they had enough power over you?
Think of someone who wounded you. If you haven’t forgiven them just thinking of them raises your blood pressure. You become out of sorts emotionally. Your entire day is now headed to the gutter. For the next few hours people will notice the change in attitude from good to bad. Why would you want to allow the people who have hurt you to still have so much power?
The answer is to forgive. Learn to let it go. It might take counseling. You may need to pray. Write out a letter extending forgiveness and send it. Make a phone call. Do something. Work on the process of forgiveness.
Third, when you extend forgiveness you are not excusing the bad guy but you are setting yourself FREE.
We have this idea we are punishing the bad guys when we refuse to forgive. There is some weird voice inside saying, “I’ll show them. I’ll never forgive them.” But take a moment and realize what has happened. You’ve not hurt them. They might be happy you are all still knotted up on the inside. What you have done is imprisoned yourself. You have crawled into a cage, locked the door, and thrown away the key.
When you go through the process of forgiving you are escaping from a prison of your own making. Like Houdini, you become an escape artist. You leave the shackles behind and burst out of the past into the daylight of freedom.
If you want to be free of the past you must begin the sometimes painful journey of forgiveness. And the payoff is being set free from the past.
I’m not writing about forgiveness based on some abstract concepts I read in a book. Nope. There have been a few people who have wounded me deeply. At one time I might have been happy to read their obituary in the newspaper. The hurt threatened to cripple me. But I learned to forgive. And now I’m free to live my life without the weight of the past.
If I can do this, so can you. Think of how much your life would improve if you forgave that person who has hurt you the most.
Do it. And if you want to begin the process talk to someone who can help. If you can think of no one send me a private message. I’m not a counselor but I can listen and encourage.
Do you think it is possible to forgive ANYONE who has hurt you?
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