Some people like to say revenge is sweet, and I have no doubt that that is true when you are comfort-eating your way through a tub of ice cream the size of a small dog because of a lost lover or, even worse, an unrequited love.

Yes, you will stew in your bitterness for years, because revenge is also a dish best eaten cold. You will wrench your face together in hateful contemplation as you envision all the evil things you will one day do to that monster that hurt you and broke your heart and shattered your trust forever and a millennium.

Okay, okay, now snap out of it. Back to reality.

Tell me, have you ever heard the saying that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies?

Woah! You weren’t expecting that, were you? Well, sometimes people need to hear the truth, and even though the truth may hurt, its better to be straight up and honest than to allow someone you care about to make a stupid mistake – or worse yet, to allow them to be stuck in unforgiveness and bitterness.

Lately, I have noticed many people who struggle with unforgiveness, and it got me wondering why. Yes, I understand that people get hurt and that they have to deal with that hurt and go through a process of healing – but why do some people allow that bitterness to haunt them for the rest of their lives?

It might be the selfishness of human nature. Every one of us has a selfish tendency – we were born with it (just look at every child under six) – and when we are wronged, we feel we have the right to avenge ourselves. There are even those of us who continue to expect others to forgive us for all our wrongdoings, all the while being unforgiving of others who wronged us.

Yes, forgiveness is hard; it is meant to be hard. That is because it goes against the very essence of our sinful nature. There is also a lesson of growth and strength of self in the act of forgiveness.

Now as a Christian, I always live from a place where I am searching for a biblical example of what I should do in certain situations. And these two verses speak volumes on the subject of forgiveness:

Ephesians 4:31-32

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. 

Matthew 6:14-15

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Yes, forgiveness is not easy, trust me – I know. But I know forgiveness comes much easier to those of us who have found the ultimate forgiveness in this life. I know that without these examples, I may never have been able to forgive some people for things they have done to me, but now I can forgive confidently knowing that I am in essence setting myself free so I can continue to flourish instead of allowing myself to wither away in bitterness.

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